Educators oppose closure after May 23

School association terms closure disservice to country


Zaigham Naqvi May 19, 2021

ISLAMABAD:

National Association of Private Schools (NAPS) President Chaudhry Obaidullah has said that any further closure of educational institutions beyond May 23 would be a great disservice to the cause of education in the country.

He said a further closure will put in jeopardy the bright future of youth. Chaudhry added that the continuous closure of educational institutions for the last 16 months had badly affected the academic process.

The NAPS president termed the prolonged closure "a thoughtless act that speaks volumes about the authorities’ incompetence and their step-motherly attitude towards education and scholars".

He said prolonged closure of educational institutions would prove detrimental for students across the board and it would take students years to compensate for this loss.

Similarly, NAPS Chairman Malik Imran, speaking on the issue, said the closure of markets and public places had brought about a significant drop in Covid-19 cases. He said this fact proved beyond a shadow of doubt that educational institutions and students were not responsible for spreading the virus.

The officials made these remarks on the sidelines of a NAPS executive body emergency meeting held on Tuesday.

Speaking on the occasion, Obaidullah urged the government to implement a policy ensuring the reopening of educational institutions and strict enforcement of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

He lamented the non-implementation of the relief package announced by the federal education minister. He said the worst affected private schools were still awaiting relief despite the passage of six months.

He also sought the government’s cooperation in conducting board examinations and provision of financial assistance to private educational institutions affected by lockdown.

The participants at the NAPS meeting vehemently opposed any further closure of educational institutions beyond May 23 stating that it would irreparably damage the cause of education in the country.

The NAPS president concluded the meeting by saying they hoped the education process would resume on May 23 and proceed at full speed.

Educators and non-teaching staff associated with private schools have held several protests against the closure of educational institutes amid the third wave of the novel coronavirus all across the country. On multiple occasions, private school bodies threatened the governments of staging a long march.

Last month, hundreds of teachers and school owners gathered at D-Chowk in the federal capital on the call of All Pakistan Private Schools and Colleges Association (APPSCA).

The agitated educators assembled on April 8 to protest against the prolonged closure of educational institutions, unemployment of thousands of teachers, increase in child labour due to prolonged closure of schools, economic woes of school owners, and delays in introducing a relief package for them.

The long march was attended by a large number of owners and staff of private educational institutions, nationwide associations, civil society, pick-and-drop service owners, and others associated with the field directly or indirectly.

The protesters marched towards D-Chowk from National Press Club (NPC), holding placards and banners, demanding an immediate reopening of educational institutions across the country. They also shouted slogans in support of their demands.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 19th, 2021.

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