Educators protest privatisation of schools

Say the government’s move will result in more out-of-school children

Our Correspondent May 20, 2024


Teachers’ organisations as well as non-teaching staff Monday launched a protest against the impending privatisation of 13,000 government schools.

As part of the protest, all teachers arrived at educational institutions wearing black bands on their arms and performed their teaching duties while continuing their demonstrations.

The teachers announced that they would not allow the privatisation of any school. They believe that whoever buys any public school property will become responsible for its profit and loss, which means they will run the schools however, they wish without any standardisation for quality education aimed at providing opportunities to poor children.

“The plan to grab commercial land worth billions of government schools will not be allowed to succeed,” said the protestors. They claimed that the summer vacations have been ordered to commence from May 25, for the very reason that the teachers’ protest could be avoided.

The teachers have been protesting on the appeal of the Joint Action Committee. All teachers and clerk organisations have been included in the Joint Action Committee. The strike and protests have also affected the education system, while the government has decided to complete the sale of 13,000 government schools by June 20 and hand over the sold schools to new owners during the summer vacation.

As soon as the new owners take over, all government teachers involved in the protest will be replaced with new teachers, administration and security staff. Additionally, 567 schools with no teachers will be shut down, while 2,700 other schools which have only one teacher, will be merged with other schools.

The leaders of the teachers’ organisation, Malik Amjad, Muhammad Shafiq Bhalwalia, Basharat Iqbal Raja, Akhian Gul Tahir and All Pakistan Clerks Association (APCA) leader, Shahzad Manzoor Kayani, while addressing the protesting teachers, said, “The Chief Minister has abandoned all promises to improve the education system, we now have to use our strength to stop the privatisation, otherwise, even more schools will be privatised in the second phase.”

The first phase of privatisation happened during the tenure of former Prime Minister Imran Khan’s government, and while the new government had promised to not continue with the plan, they have back paddled on their oaths.

Sources in the education department said that after the privatisation phase, the rationalisation of teacher layoffs is also being started. The processes of privatisation and layoffs will be completed and implemented by August 14, during which teachers will also be transferred.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 21st, 2024.


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