Fallout from accusations – Punjab govt to remove beds from faculty retiring rooms


LAHORE: The Punjab government is planning to remove beds from the retiring rooms of teachers of public sector universities after Prof Dr Iftikhar Baloch of the Punjab University was alleged to have harassed his female colleagues in his retiring room almost six months ago, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Department heads, principals, directors, deans and senior administrative officials in the public sector universities are entitled to use beds in retiring chambers. A senior official of the Higher Education Department (HED) said that teachers were allowed the facility so they could impart education with a relaxed mind, but now people were criticising the presence of beds in the retiring rooms after the Dr Baloch scandal.
He said that the reality of charges on Dr Baloch would unveil after investigation but right now the government was seriously thinking to remove the beds. He said a big chunk of money from the Higher Education Commission (HEC) was spent on the renovations of teachers’ offices despite a shortage of funds. Professors are using funds for luxuries like double beds, sofa sets, TV, security cameras and dining tables in their offices, the senior official added.
Punjab University (PU) Registrar Dr Muhammad Akhtar said that Dr Baloch had demanded a bed in his room on health grounds. He said that no one in the university was allowed to use bed and there were offices where teachers did not even have the toilet facility. PU Additional Registrar Dr Aurangzaib Alamgir said that at a university where female students are also enrolled, there was no place to use bed in teachers’ offices.
FEMALE FACULTY COMPLAIN: Female faculty members of universities said that only male teachers were using beds in retiring rooms while no female professor’s retiring room has beds. They demanded that the government should remove beds from male teachers’ offices at all public sector universities, as varsities were not a place to relax.
They said that most professors who are allowed the luxury of beds in their rooms reside in varsity’s resident colonies and they could easily go to their houses to take rest. A PU female faculty member of Bio Chemistry and Bio Technology department said that it is beyond understanding why young teachers were using beds in offices while senior teachers, including the VC and registrar, were not allowed such facility.
She said that female students avoided visiting those teachers who have beds in their offices. A female teacher from Institute of Education and Research said that the concept of provision of beds is common in the western universities but here in Pakistan teachers are using it for sexual harassment.