Teachers rally against privatisation

LAHORE, May 16(Dawn): The Joint Action Committee of Teachers (JACT), Punjab, has demanded that the government should refrain from denationalising educational institutions because this decision will affect the future of hundreds of teachers and thousands of students.

A large number of teachers holding banners and placards took out a protest rally from the Government Muslim High School No 2, Civil Lines, to Kutchery Chowk and blocked traffic for about 20 minutes.

The protesters raised slogans against the government for ignoring schoolteachers in giving financial relief and perks.

Speaking on the occasion, JACT leaders warned the government that the teachers would be compelled to take direct action if it tried to denationalise education institutions during the summer vacation.

JACT Punjab chairman Rana Arshad said the government's decision to denationalise educational institutions would affect 1,400 primary, 279 middle and 589 high schools and 60 colleges all over the province.

He said the government's stubbornness on denationalisation of educational institutions and giving no financial relief was creating unrest among teachers.

Mr Arshad said the committee would again call its meeting in Lahore next week and announce its further protest strategy against the government steps that were creating unrest among the teachers community.

He criticised the Punjab and federal governments for not releasing teaching allowance announced and approved for schoolteachers more than 10 months ago by Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

All-Pakistan Teachers Federation chairman Azam Butt said the government was constantly taking steps that were damaging the education system and keeping poor segment of society away from seeking education even in public sector schools.

He said the schoolteachers were united and would not allow the government to take steps that were against the interest of teachers in particular and the education system in general.

Punajb Teachers Union president Jan-i-Alam Khan said the government was denationalising schools to appease NGOs and social work organisations.

Teacher leaders Ishaq Kirmani, Aslam Ghumman, Afzal Umeed, Zafar Iqbal Sulehria, Zafar Mahmood and Qazi Rauf also spoke on the occasion.

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