Meeting between university teachers, minister uncertain

Universal pension scheme

There are no teachers and students at classrooms and departmental offices as those are locked. Instead, the teachers are speaking for their demands taking position at the main entrance of the Arts Building at Dhaka University Sunday.

This was the scenario in other academic buildings of the university as well. Not only Dhaka University, 39 public universities of the country have been shut down for nearly a week due to the strike of teachers, officials and employees.

No government initiative, however, is visible to solve the crisis.

The teachers, officials and employees of public universities have been simultaneously observing a strike to meet their three-point demands, including the continuation of the pension system as before, excluding the university teachers in the “prottoy” scheme of the universal pension system.

Two other demands of the teachers are - the inclusion of university teachers in the super grade and a separate pay scale for teachers.

No classes and exams are taking place as the teachers have been waging the movement from 1 July.

There is a fear of session jam if the situation continues for long.

There was a talk of discussion with the teachers and Obaidul Quader, a minister of the government and general secretary of the governing Awami League, on Thursday. But that did not happen.

He said the meeting could not take place due to Obaidu Quader’s preoccupation with state affairs.

No progress has been made in this regard till Sunday.

Federation of Bangladesh University Teachers Association (FBUTA) secretary general Nizamul Hoque Bhuiyan told Prothom Alo Sunday that there is no news of the discussion as of now.

He, however, hoped that the government would accept the demands of the teachers if they could sit at the negotiating table and highlight the rationale of their demands.

Nizamul Hoque Bhuiyan also said that they will continue their movement until the three-point demands are met.

Speaking about this at a programme at the secretariat Sunday, AL general secretary and road transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader said the government is closely monitoring the ongoing movements of the university teachers and the students against a new pension scheme and quota in government jobs respectively

He said those will be solved on time.

Speaking about the discussion with the teachers, Quader said, “I can’t say right now when we would sit. But it will be solved in time.”