Teachers' demands genuine, says NA committee

ISLAMABAD, May 31(Dawn): The National Assembly's education committee on Wednesday supported the protesting teachers' demands and recommended that Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz should consider them on humanitarian grounds.

The Pakistan Teachers United Front (PTUF) represents more than 800,000 school teachers and is staging protests all over the country, calling for better service structure.

The committee met here at the National Library with Begum Tehmina Dasti in the chair to discuss the calling-attention notice on the inclusion of Hindu religion and reign of Chandra Gupta Moria in the curriculum, and the issue of private schools in the Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

According to a press release issued by the National Assembly Secretariat on Wednesday, the committee unanimously agreed that teachers' demands were genuine and urged the government to seriously consider their demands.

The PTUF leaders are continuously staging a hunger strike in Islamabad and have threatened to go on indefinite hunger strike from June 1 if no action was taken on their demands.

Teachers' main demand is time-scale jobs and they also want regular promotions. Under the present system, teachers hardly get any promotions.

PTUF's 12 demands, including its rejection of the ongoing de-nationalisation of educational institutions.

Other demands included upgradation of their pay-scales, house requisitioning facility, conveyance allowance, teaching allowance for teachers of Punjab, Sindh and the NWFP, restoration of selection grades, move-overs, reviving the old commutation system and cancellation of the contract system for teachers.

The committee also unanimously praised the revised curriculum of history for class VI to VIII as it intended to provide the students information about historical changes besides enabling them to understand diversified contributions of the Indus Valley Civilisations in the form of religion, culture and traditions.

However, the committee deferred discussion on "The Islamabad Capital Territory Private Educational Institutions (Regulations and Promotion) Ordinance, 2007, till its next meeting.

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