‘Black day’: Protest amidst celebrations on teachers’ day

Teachers to camp outside Parliament House as events are organised to mark World Teachers’ Day.

Peer Muhammad October 05, 2011


While preparations are being finalised across the city for the celebration of World Teachers’ Day, federal government college teachers have reiterated their resolve to observe it as “Black Day”.

They announced a protest in front of the Parliament House on Wednesday, to continue pressing for the implementation of their promised up-gradation package last year.

Talking to The Express Tribune, Federal Government College Teachers Association General Secretary Tahir Mehmood mocked the government, saying, “How can [the government] celebrate World Teachers’ Day when we are on the roads and are deprived of our rights.”

He criticised the government’s “callous attitude” in ignoring the demands of the teachers.

Meanwhile, preparations were finalised for a number of seminars, walks and awareness programs to be held across the city to mark the day. The Federal Directorate of Education announced to hold a celebration at the National Library to mark the day, while the United Nations Educational and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) will hold walks from China Chawk to the parade ground, which is expected to be attended by a large number of teachers and civil society activists.

Commenting on the situation, Islamic International University Islamabad (IIUI) Rector Professor Fatah Muhammad Malik said, “The respect and dignity of the teaching profession has tremendously decreased in this era.” He attributed it to the “growing materialistic approach in the pious profession”.

The World Teacher’ Day is observed annually on October 5 to highlight and celebrate the role of teachers in providing quality education. The 2011 events will focus on the theme “Teachers for Gender Equality”.

UNESCO’s acknowledgement

UNESCO, in a statement issued here on Tuesday vowed to acknowledge 1.4 million teachers of Pakistan as one of the key mobilisers in bringing “the power of literacy” to children and citizens. UNESCO, along with United Nations Development Programme, International Labour Organisation and United Nations Children’s Fund issued a joint statement stressing the importance of collaborated support to bring education to every child by 2015.

The statement read that the country’s enrolment rate of girls is particularly low, accounting to over 40 per cent of girls being out of schools. UNESCO urged teachers to play their role in motivating parents to send their daughters to school and in mobilising local communities to support girls’ education.

Teachers in disaster

UNESCO, in its statement, acknowledged the courage of teachers and expressed concern for more than 7,500 teachers who have lost their livelihood, directly or indirectly, due to the damages caused by recent rains and subsequent floods in Sindh and Balochistan. The organisation’s initial assessment reveals that more than 8,000 schools have been affected in the two provinces during the last two months.

During the floods of 2010, the livelihood of more than 20,000 teachers is estimated to be affected as the floods destroyed around 10,160 schools. The 2010 floods affected enrolment of more than half million students.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2011. 


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