The role of the High School Students Federation

Page from Students' Herald, Feb 6, 1953

Article from STUDENTS’ HERALD, Vol 1, No 6, Feb 6, 1953

School Students’ Glorious Contribution to Common Struggle

By Saghir Ahmed,

General Secretary, High School Students’ Federation

The students of high schools had played a prominent part in the common struggle for better conditions of life and study which culminated in a mighty and victorious demonstration of student unity and determination. In fact their leaders and their sole representative organisation, the High School Students Federation, together with the Democratic Students’ Federation and the Inter-Collegiate Body, had jointly chalked out the pro­gramme for the struggle and made valuable con­tribution in the deliberations of the Action Committee.

Apart from the common demands of the student community on the whole, which had been presented by the Action Committee to the Education Ministry, which include provision of better accommodation for schools, reduction in fees, building of more hostels and colleges, playgrounds, free medical aid, etc., there are certain demands peculiar to the high schools which also have been presented to the Education Ministry and more recently to the Directorate of Education in the form of a me­morandum detailed below.

MEMORANDUM

The Executive Committee of the High School Students’ Federation places the follow­ing demands to be accepted before the commencement of the Matric Examination:

  1. The date of the Preliminary Exami­nation should be extended because of the recent tragedy.
  2. No student should be detained in the Preliminary Examination.
  3. One paper should be given in a day.
  4. Grace marks should also be included.
  5. The Examination fee should be re­duced by 50 per cent.
  6. Five months fee should be taken at a time but in instalments.
  7. Supplementary Examinations should be held every year.

The above mentioned demands are le­gitimate and just. And the students are rai­sing their voice in their forum for the last five years.

The demands must be considered sym­pathetically and should be accepted before the commencement of the Matric Examination.

The first, second and sixth demands were accepted by the Directorate of Education while the deputation of the students was directed to represent to the Board of Secondary Education regarding the rest of the demands.

To achieve   these and other   demands   the-High   School   Students’   Federation   started with meetings in individual schools addressed by their leaders. In accordance with the decision of the Action Committee a huge demonstration was taken out by the high school students on January 7. This demonstration was brutally tear-gassed be­hind the Governor General’s House and then still more brutally lathi-charged and chased into bungalows and lanes, while a similar drama was being enacted on Somerset Street in which college students were the victims. The students courageously faced and defeated the police at­tempts to disperse them in both places and forced them to retreat. Among those arrested on that day were many high school students. In the delegation of the Action Committee which met the Education Minister immediately after the demonstration, the high school students were represented by Mr. M. Shan of the HSF. All the demands were accepted by the Education Minis­ter and for the demands peculiar to the High Schools the HSF was advised to work out the details with the Director of Education.

On the next day, i.e. on January 8, a mile-long procession started from DJ Sind College and almost all high schools observed complete strike to protest against police brutalities on the previous day. Police vendetta reached a new high, so much so that citizens of Karachi came out on the streets to defend their sons against police terror.

The streets of Karachi bore silent yet an eloquent testimony to the bravery of the students. The police attempted to drown in blood the mo­vement of students for betterment of their plight. Once again the students of high schools demons­trated their unity with their elder brothers. In fact they bore the brunt and suffered greatest number of casualties in deadnwounded. A majority of those arrested were also drawn from their ranks. Immediately after this blood bath authorities stepped up their attempts to split and divide the student movement on the basis of senior and junior students by fixing different dates  the reopening of the schools and college but miserably failed.

In the six-day strike, which was forced upon the students by the dilatory tactics of the overnment, all high schools remained closed com­pletely. In fact the high school students even boycotted preliminary and terminal exami­nations which were in progress or about to start in most of the institutions. They thus displayed an unparalleled maturity and consciousness and underlined the unity of students.

Once more the students of high schools are being put to new tests. In some high schools, principals have imposed fines for participating in the strikes and threatened expulsions. In the Sheldon High School the principal has victimised four students for taking active part in the recent struggle, Saleem, Basharat, Aziz and Abid of Class 9A have been ordered out of class for an indefinite period. The authorities openly say that it is being done under orders of the Director of Board of Education. A whispering campaign has been started and fake bodies are being set up to confuse them and break them away from the mainstream of students’ movement and thus disrupt the students’ unity. But the high school students are alert   and   have defeated all such attempts and any future attempts at disrup­tion shall miserably fail. They have unshakable faith in their sole representative ,the High School Students’  Federation, which has  always led them  truly well.

The consciousness and maturity displayed by high school students who are the future guar­dians and leaders of the student movement and the nation, is the surest guarantee for ever increasing unity of student community and progress of Pakistan.

Student  Unity Zindabad!

High School Students’ Federation Zindabad!

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