KU students suffer as teachers' strike continues

KU's Vice-Chancellor Dr Khalid Iraqi says teachers will be called for negotiations today

By
Rana Javaid
A deserted view of the University of Karachi, on September 25, 2023, in this still image from a video, as teachers remain on strike. — Reporter
A deserted view of the University of Karachi, on September 25, 2023, in this still image from a video, as teachers remain on strike. — Reporter

  • KU's vice-chancellor says teachers were invited for negotiations. 
  • Administration abolishes teachers' fee for MPhil and PhD.
  • Students ask teachers, administration to not waste their time. 


KARACHI: The students at the University of Karachi (KU) continue to suffer amid the ongoing teachers' strike and boycott of classes in both evening and morning shifts for the 10th consecutive day. 

The Karachi University Teachers Society (KUTS) announced a complete boycott of classes earlier this month due to non-payment of arrears for the past one-and-a-half years. 

Moreover, the permanent faculty members are yet to receive the increment announced in the provincial government’s budget four months ago. The society said that the campaign, which kicked off on September 22, would continue for an indefinite period.

KU's Vice-Chancellor Dr Khalid Iraqi said that the teachers were called for negotiations, however, they did not come to the meeting. "The teachers will be invited for a meeting today as well," he added.

Meanwhile, KUTS said that the management did not call the teachers directly for negotiations.

In line with their demands, the KU administration abolished the teachers' fee for MPhil and PhD. They added, however, that this would further increase the financial deficit of the varsity.

According to the notification issued by the KU registrar, the teachers are now exempt from paying admission, enrollment, semester examination, thesis evaluation, and viva examination fees for MPhil and PhD — which means it is now completely free for them.

It should be noted that the students doing MPhil from the University of Karachi had to pay Rs332,000 while the fees for PhD was Rs407,000.

'Teachers, administration shouldn't waste students' time, money'

On the other hand, students are suffering from losses as their classes continue to remain suspended.

Rubab Amir, who is a second-year student at the Department of English, told Geo.tv: "We more or less expect a strike every semester, since these have been happening since the day we joined university. While we sympathise with our teachers and thoroughly condemn the administration's actions, we're sick of having our studies taking such a heavy hit every semester."

"Because of these huge gaps, once the strikes are over, we have to rush through our courses before exam time which means we're not getting even half the education we paid for. This is a major drawback of studying at a politically active government university," she added.

A deserted view of the University of Karachi, on September 25, 2023, in this still image from a video, as teachers remain on strike. — Reporter
A deserted view of the University of Karachi, on September 25, 2023, in this still image from a video, as teachers remain on strike. — Reporter

Making an appeal to the teachers association, Amir said: "Despite our sympathies, I wish KUTS would find a better way to criticise and protest the administration's actions which doesn't waste so much of the students' precious time and their parents' money. This is a major reason many people dismiss Karachi University as a valid option to get an education because strikes such as these turn the act of getting a degree more into political warfare."

Another student, Hajra Mushtaq — a BS final year student — told Geo.tv that the strike has disturbed her thesis.

"The strike has disturbed my schedule. I’m a final year student and my thesis is due in a month. However, with this strike, we are unable to complete our course outline on time and will now be burdened with all academic activities including assignments, presentations, exams and thesis all together, which will be very difficult for us students to balance."

"The teachers should prioritise their students’ needs above all and should protest for their rights in a way that doesn’t affect the students. Once the strike is over, the teachers should be considerate towards students and not punish them with extra load for something that’s not their fault," she stressed.