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Students suffer as teachers continue boycott of exams.

Byline: M.B. Kalhoro

LARKANA -- The stand-off between the Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) and the management of Shah Abdul Latif University (Salu), Khairpur, has put the fate of hundreds of students on the back burner as the SPLA has boycotted the practical examination of BSc and BCom in Larkana and Sukkur divisions.

Talking to Dawn on Tuesday, SPLA Sukkur region president Prof Syed Ghulam Asghar Shah confirmed that the boycott began with the start of the practical examination on Jan 23. Since then not a single practical exam of BSc and BCom had been taken while the university's schedule was up to April 23, he said.

He said the SPLA was compelled to opt for boycotting the examinations in 68 colleges in all the eight districts in the region after the university management had declined to implement the agreement arrived at in the wake of negotiations held on Sept 11, 2017.

He said the SPLA leaders along with the principals' advisory committee and the university high-ups including the vice chancellor, registrar, controller of examination and director finance in a meeting discussed and decided that the length of holding practicals should be curtailed to 10 days instead of stretching it to 90 days, which ultimately disturbed the colleges' academic activities.

The SPLA chose to boycott for the teachers who performed duties and had to wait for even two years to get their remuneration bills cleared. Also the colleges where examinations were held had been ignored in clearing their dues in time. Amidst the situation, the SPLA and principals of the colleges had joined hands to stand up against the unilateral policies of the university.

Malhar Sindhi, a spokesman of the SPLA Sukkur region, on Tuesday said practicals of physics, botany, zoology, geography, and other subjects were not conducted in the entire region and till today [Tuesday] the situation was unchanged.

Prof Asghar Shah said that annually the university's affiliated colleges paid Rs1.7 billion to the university in the examination head while the annual payments of the teachers engaged in the exams could hardly stood at Rs7.5 million. Then he questioned what hindered the university to pay remuneration to the teachers in time. The cheques more frequently bounced, he said, adding that such bounced cheques were also shown to the vice chancellor in the meeting. But unfortunately the practice remained the same, he said.

He said that taking practical examinations for a period of 90 days would drastically harm the intermediate section in the region.

He demanded that to provide facility to the teachers and students, the span should be fixed at 10 days and each teacher should be assigned to take viva voce of 500 students in the scheduled time. To ensure early and timely payment of remuneration to the teachers, a separate account with Rs7.5m should be opened to smoothly operate the system, he said. One wonders why the university had no academic calendar and despite deciding to prepare it within a month's time in the meeting held in September 2017, it was not yet issued, Prof Syed Asghar Shah said.

All such decisions were incorporated in the minutes of the meeting, Prof Shah said, but practically things were at a standstill. In this connection, the SPLA and principals of the region on Tuesday met at Government Degree College here on Tuesday and decided to continue the boycott, said a press release of the SPLA.

However, Salu controller of examinations Syed Mehdi Shah on Tuesday talked to the general secretary of the SPLA Sukkur region, Mushtaque Phulpoto, said Syed Asghar Shah.

He [controller] had advised the SPLA leadership to contact the chairmen of the respective departments to hammer out a solution. 'We [SPLA] have rejected the proposal, saying that we believe in negotiations, but the strategy is unacceptable,' Mr Shah said.

'We still stand by the agreement reached in the negotiations', he said, adding that the boycott would continue.
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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Date:Feb 7, 2018
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