BS Hons programme’s future hangs in balance as BoG issue flares up


LAHORE: As the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) are criticising the Punjab government for introducing the board of governors (BoG) and teachers and students are protesting on roads, the future of introducing four-year BS Hons programmes in 26 public-sector colleges of Punjab remains a big challenge for the besieged Punjab government, Pakistan Today has learnt.
As a last ditch effort to calm down the protesting teachers and students who were badly beaten by police outside the Punjab Assembly, the Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) was launching a lecture series to inform various stakeholders about benefits of the BS Hons programmes. But this move might not attain the desired results, as teachers and students were not ready to calm down at all costs.
According to HED sources, the Punjab CM was very concerned at the PPP’s criticism of the BoG issue and police torture of teachers and students. The Punjab government had also instructed HED officials to take steps for securing the BS Hons programme by organising lectures in various public-sector colleges but newly-appointed Punjab HED Secretary Haseeb Athar was not capable for implementing the Punjab CM’s vision in this regard. According to sources, the whole paper work on the BS Hons programme was done by former Punjab HED secretary and present Lahore DCO Ahad Cheema but Athar was not capable to control the situation.
A senior HED official said that lectures would be held in various public-sector colleges of Lahore for convincing students and teachers that fees would not be increased and the Punjab government did not have any plans for privatising colleges.
According to educationists, the CM’s soft corner towards the Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) and the Islami Jamiat-e-Talba (IJT) was the major reason behind the movement against the BS Hons programme. They urged the CM to stop favouring the JI and IJT and take stern action in this regard. The educationists accused the CM of not taking any action against the IJT when its hooligans manhandled teachers and students due to which, the student organisation was protesting against the provincial chief executive’s own initiatives.
They said that students had suffered a lot due to the CM’s free hand to the IJT and never bothered to take action against the hooligans for their illegal actions. The educationists said that the IJT had badly tortured students in the Punjab University (PU) and Islamia College Civil Lines but the CM did not take any action against them, which encouraged the IJT to attack the Punjab Assembly a couple of days ago.
They urged the CM to consider the hypocritical politics of the JI and IJT, which he was favouring, as both the party and its student organisation were ready to join the PPP and the PML-Q for launching a movement against his government. The educationists said that the CM should not raise slogans but take practical steps against illegal elements present in PU and Islamia College hostels.
According to a PU teacher, these illegal elements attacked a PU hostel superintendent’s house at Hostel number 14 but no action was taken by the varsity administration and IJT activists were also planning to launch a movement against the BoGs in PU hostels.
He said that there was a need of a search operation in the hostels and the CM should take the matter seriously.
On the other hand, while the IJT, the Joint Action Committee (JAC) of teachers and the Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association (PPLA) have announced plans for protests against the Punjab government and the BS Hons programme, the Insaaf Students Federation (ISF) has also started organising protests against the Punjab CM.
The protests and aggression of students and the teaching community were likely to increase in the near future while the Punjab government has also vowed not to bow down to such elements.
An Islamia College Civil Lines professor said that the Punjab government did nothing for protecting students who were tortured by IJT hooligans. A Science College Wahdat Road professor said that those people who were protesting against the BS Hons programmes should also be taken into confidence, as their concerns were also right.
He said that fees of colleges in which BoG was introduced had increased and how the CM was claiming that fees would not be increased after introducing BoG in public-sector colleges of Punjab. Islamia College Civil Lines student Awais said that the CM should decide that whether he would pursue his political agenda or protect student rights. He said that students wanted to know what he had done for students being tortured by the IJT for attending BS Hons classes.


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