Teachers renew call for rights, welfare

Our Correspondent
Friday, May 26, 2023

Islamabad: The newly-elected body of the All Pakistan Professors and Lecturers Association (APPLA) met here on Thursday to address the challenges faced by college teachers across the country.Leaders from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Punjab, Sindh, Balochistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, and Gilgit-Baltistan came together, recognising their shared interests, and committed to joint efforts aimed at enhancing the dignity and privileges of teachers while improving the quality of higher education for millions of underprivileged students in the country. The APPLA leadership presented a comprehensive charter of demands to the government, with the primary goal of establishing a uniform service structure for college teachers across Pakistan.

They proposed a five-tier formula, similar to the one implemented in KP, to ensure fairness and equality among college teachers nationwide.Recognising the impact of inflation on society as a whole, the APPLA demanded an immediate 100 per cent increase in the salaries of college teachers. They also urged the government to unfreeze house rent, medical allowance, and conveyance allowance, aligning them with market rates.

The association also emphasized the importance of providing group insurance benefits upon retirement. Addressing the disparity in qualification allowances, APPLA demanded a reduction in the discrepancies between M.Phil, MS, and Ph.D. qualifications, seeking equal recognition and remuneration for all qualified educators. To alleviate the tax burden on teachers, the association called for a reinstatement of the previous 75 per cent tax exemption, benefiting educators as it did before.

They emphasized that this exemption would enable teachers to focus on their professional development and better serve their students. Moreover, the APPLA advocated the establishment of a separate Directorate of Higher Education for Federal Colleges, ensuring focused attention and resources for their professional growth and development.In an effort to expedite the implementation of these demands, the APPLA stressed the need to implement a revised four-tier formula in Gilgit-Baltistan before the announcement of the upcoming budget. A couple of days ago, the teachers associations from all over Pakistan gathered at Nathiagali and held a meeting.

The meeting culminated in the formation of the new body of All Pakistan Professors and Lecturers Association (APPLA), with Prof. Munawar Abbas from Sindh elected as the new President and Prof. Jamshed Khan from KP as the General Secretary. Dr. Rahima Rehman from Islamabad, was elected as the Senior Vice President, and Prof. Dr. Tariq Kaleem, Prof. Tariq Baloch, Prof. Rehmat Ali, and Prof. Tariq Saleem Shah were chosen as Vice Presidents, representing various federating units. The newly elected body of APPLA assured the teachers that they would not tolerate any form of victimisation within the teaching community.