PESHAWAR: A sit-in protest of the Peshawar University (UOP) students to force the government and university administration into accepting their demands entered into its 13th day on Sunday.
The protesters have decided to arrange a well-attended demonstration on the eve of the organization meeting scheduled to be held here on Tuesday.
Student leaders representing different unions and groups started protesting 12 days ago in an act of denouncing the university administration’s decision regarding a hike in the tuition fee and the deprivation of other important facilities.
Several rounds of dialogues between the students, university administration and government officers have failed to yield any results. Minister Higher Education, Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani also held a detailed meeting with the protesting student’s leaders and the university administration.
Bilal Buneri who leads the action committee while talking to this scribe said, “In the recent past the university’s administration made a considerable increase in the fee which is beyond the resources of the students belonging to poor families.”
He said that the administration decided to make a 10 per cent annual increase in all fees, admission charges and hostel accommodation charges, which is one of their main concerns amongst many others.
According to Bilal, the annual hostel accommodation charges are Rs 42,000. Similarly, the administration charges a heavy fee from students who re-appear in supplementary examinations or take the exam again for an improvement in marks. He observed that the increase was made in the name of verified degrees and certificates.
He further complained that said there isn’t any representation of the students in any of the decision-making bodies like the senate and syndicates.
Bilal confirmed that the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) Higher Education Minister, Mr Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani made attempts for reconciliation but they felt that the administration was just deceiving them through verbal assurances and promises. “We demand all assurances and commitments on paper otherwise we are determined to continue the protest,” he remarked and added that they plan on staging a protest rally in front of the administration block on Tuesday.
The Peshawar High Court (PHC) also overruled the university administrations decision of the fee hike. But Bilal observed that: “The administration is reluctant to honour the court’s decision.”
Mr Mushtaq Ahmad Ghani, when contacted, stated, “I made an attempt and the university administration agreed but the final decision will be made by the syndicate.”
He said that some of the political party’s leaders and office holders are exploiting the situation. He urged the students to avoid such steps and added that the university is an autonomous body and its administration is independent in its decision.