FAPUASA: Time to Lead from the Front

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Dr Deeba Shahwar

In many professions, it is easy to overemphasise the importance of the job. But in the case of our educators and teachers, people are Dr Deeba Shahwarmore likely to miscalculate the importance of their role in our society. After analysing many studies, it is clear that the economic and social benefits of knowledge and skills that one acquires from university education are a critical source for transforming society, job creation, developing skills and cultivating informed citizenship. University teachers are certainly the most significant members of our society. The students of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Thus, teachers are the critical point that makes a child ready for their future and inspire in them a drive to do well and succeed in life.
But, unfortunately, when these dream developers are striving for their basic rights, how can society expect the most valuable organ to work properly and efficiently. At the time of its independence in 1947, the nascent nation of Pakistan had only one university. The number grew over time. Definitely, the devotion of teachers can never be denied in this whole process of development. But the problems associated with the education system of Pakistan are lack of adequate budget, lack of policy implementation, defective examination system, poor physical facilities, lack of teacher quality, lack of implementation of education policies, directionless education, political pressures and many more to discuss. Even in this critical situation, our teacher produced many prominent and significant names in the field of education, health and politics.
Government policies and rules are meant to facilitate the employees but when these rules start confiscating or degrading the employees then protest becomes a necessity. A teacher teaches the society to regard their basic rights but what about when they themselves have to fight for their basic rights? No shame can be bigger than having to point out the inefficiency of the rules and implementation of the policies. The All Pakistan Universities BPS Teachers Association (APUBTA) is a country-wide representative forum, working for BPS faculty to protect their rightful privileges by pointing and discussing the unfair practices concerning promotion, salary, performance-based incentive, study leaves, etc. APUBTA indicated that BPS faculty make up 88 per cent of the entire faculty in public sector universities but face systematic and multifaceted discrimination. The Federation of All Pakistan Universities Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) is aimed at specifying the same issues as APUBTA had already indicated. So, it is a dire need of time to collaborate in this mission.
FAPUASA is a sign of federation to fight for the rights of university teachers and secure their dignity and unity.
In 2004, the TTS was introduced without justification and analysis for improvements or highlighting the weaknesses in the BPS system. Therefore, teachers were divided into two groups–contrary to the fact of one country, two systems. Anyhow, FAPUASA, amazingly comprising mostly of BPS leaders, is supposed to be the federation of all teachers and must secure the rights of both groups or strive for the merging of the two systems. At the very least, it should keep a balance in securing their equal rights.
The All Pakistan TTS Teachers Association (APTTA)–securing its own rights through the full support of FAPUASA and APUBTA–is the supreme group striving independently. Then, how FAPUASA shall claim the status of the federation for university is indeed a big question on its existence.
Open full support for APUBTA regarding all legitimate rights must be the prime responsibility of FAPUASA to secure and ensure a balance of rights in the two groups. FAPUASA must also play a vital role until both the groups are merged and a special payment system is introduced but this may be implemented phase-wise and on the choices of the existing employees as the law never allows a sudden change in the service structure of government employees.
The call for a protest held on October 21, 2021, by APUBTA must be owned by FAPUASA as the collaboration with the right partner can be the key to unlocking desired results. Associations that collaborate not only have an opportunity to learn from each other’s mistakes, successes, failures, workflow but also gain an inclusive understanding of the perspective. But I am afraid that if this synchronization doesn’t happen and APUBTA is successful in time scale promotion for BPS teachers without the full support of FAPUASA then legally, morally and ethically there shall be no federation of all universities. So, it is the right time to lead from the front.