The number of part-time teachers has increased in colleges and universities ever since the establishment of Higher Education Commission (HEC) of Pakistan. The notions of the corporate system in education, i.e. adjunct professor and per lecture wage have become so much common that the teachers have taken the shape of contractual laborers.
This contractual nature of services has also made the exploitation of the teachers very easy in many ways. One of the reasons for this is the uncertainty and insecurity of services that directly begets from the contractual nature of the employment.
Moreover, the majority of the contractual teachers lose motivation because of the undue workload causing mental fatigue and psychological pressure. There is no denying the fact that the introduction of edu-business as per requirements of new liberalism and knowledge economy have made teachers mere factory workers.
It seems as if the HEC with its anti-education and anti-poor policies has left no stone unturned in devaluing universities in the country. Its policy of marketization, privatization and commercialism, and corporatization have made education worthy of nothing and unnecessary.
The space for academic freedom, free speech, democratic values, trade unionism, common struggle, and resistance does not find a place in market value subjects and edu-business concept. Furthermore, the commodification of education is fast leading to depoliticization and the absence of critical thinking in society. This factory model of college and university education will most negatively impact the democratic, social, and cultural fabric of society.
An education system should be reflective of the cultural values and representative of the needs of a nation. But ironically, the culture being introduced by HEC is in sharp contrast to the public sentiments, attitudes, and ideologies. Consequently, an infertile educational system in which students will be mere customers, clients, and consumers is being developed. It will only be the purchasing power of the students as customers to determine whether they can afford the commodity of education or not.
Therefore, it is high time for the teachers and students to raise their voice from a common platform against the new liberal policies of HEC. A consistent, organized, and united struggle will serve as a bulwark against the anti-poor and anti-education policies of HEC.