APPSA protests against red notices

Traffic disrupted for two hours as students, teachers, parents take to streets


Jamil Mirza December 08, 2021
Hundreds of students and teachers staged a demonstration against Cantonment boards’ final eviction notices to private schools functioning in residential areas. PHOTO: AGHA MAHROZ/EXPRESS

RAWALPINDI:

The joint action committee (JAC) of All-Pakistan Private Schools Association (APPSA) staged a protest outside Rawalpindi and Chaklala cantonment boards against the eviction notices for closure of schools until December 31.

The teachers, students, owners of private schools, non-teaching staff, and parents took part in the protest march.

The demonstrators started to assemble outside Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) at 9 am. As a result, traffic remained disrupted on Mall Road and in the Saddar bazaar for around two hours and ambulances also got stuck in the traffic jam.

Heavy contingents of the police were summoned and the main gates of both cantonment boards were sealed.

The students and teachers chanted slogans in favour of the Pakistan Army and education as they marched on the Chakala Cantonment Board (CCB) from the RCB.

The cantonment administration and police planned to stop the march of protesters but they abstained from doing so owing to the presence of students and female teachers.

The JAC officials including convener Nasir Mehmood, Abrar Ahmed Khan, Amjad Zaib, Chaudhry Tayyab and others said that they should be provided with an alternative and only then they would close all private schools themselves.

They said that they would stay on roads if the students were not given an alternate space and they will stage a sit-in at D-Chowk in Islamabad.

They asked what kind of Pakistan was it where educators were compelled to stand on the road after snatching chalk and pen from them.

They said that the bags and books from the students have been taken and they have been made to sit on the roads.

Read More: Capital schools shut from today

The speakers said the cantonment boards’ decision will result in the closure of 8,530 private schools and will affect three million students and around 0.35 million teaching and non-teaching staff.

They said that some 12 million children were already out of school and the decision will increase the figure to 15 million.

The JAC members appealed to the officials concerned not to close the doors of education on the students.

They said that the prime minister says that no country can progress without education and asked what was happening now that the teachers and students were on the roads.

RCB closes four primary schools

Meanwhile, the RCB has closed down four primary schools established in populated areas and merged them.

According to sources, some 17 teachers have been sacked from their jobs while 11 have been adjusted on administrative posts.

The four primary schools and the other one were functioning in Kamalabad, People’s Colony, Azizabad, Chohar Chowk, and Saham.

However, the education standard of all these institutions could not improve while they functioned in rental buildings.

After the number of students started to decline, the administration closed down primary schools in Kamalabad, People’s Colony, Azizabad and Chohar Harpal. All these institutions have been merged with Primary School Saham.

The sources said that the cantonment administration never made funds available for upgrading the schools from primary to a middle or higher level.

Students from the low-income group were studying in these schools.

The primary school in Saham is situated at a distance of at least five to seven kilometres away from the closed down four schools were located.

Sources said that the parents had no option but to enrol their children in private schools as they cannot afford the transport expenditure.

In this regard, RCB spokesperson Qaiser Mehmood said the schools were established in rented buildings and the number of students was also decreasing. He said that the MLC headquarters has approved the merger of these schools.

He said that a two-storey building worth Rs20 million has been constructed for Saham School. The official said six contractual teachers have been sacked while 11 permanent teachers have been adjusted on administrative posts. He said that 11 teachers were dismissed after completing all legal formalities.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 8th, 2021.

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