LAHORE: A protest by teachers of different government schools in Punjab continued for the second day on Sunday against what they called privatisation of their schools and teachers’ alleged redundancy.
A large number of teachers from different parts of the province had gathered for a sit-in in Lahore outside the Punjab Assembly after talks with the provincial government remained unsuccessful on Saturday.
The protesters spent the night outside the assembly building and refused to end the sit-in until their demands were met.
Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) had given the call for the demonstration in which, despite hot weather, male and female teachers from the neighbouring districts also participated and expressed strong resentment over the policies of the Education Department.
The teachers raised their voice against a recent policy of the education department under which public sector primary schools are proposed to be handed over to the private sector on the “pretext of poor performance”.
The PTU leaders recently had claimed that some schools were being ‘privatised’ despite good performance, terming the move a conspiracy to jeopardise the entire system of public education in the province.
The protesting teachers chanted slogans and vowed to continue their protest till the acceptance of their demands, including upgradation of teachers.
PTU President Sajjad Akbar Kazmi who led the demonstration said Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif instead of listening to bureaucracy should listen to the real stakeholders, the teachers. He said the gathering of hundreds of teachers was proof of the fact that there was great unrest among schoolteachers owing to the education department’s policies.
Sajjad Kazmi, Rana Liaqat, Jam Sadiq, Ch Sarfraz, Rana Anwaar and other leaders said the good performing schools were also being handed over to Punjab Daanish Schools and Centres of Excellence Authority to turn the same as ‘centres of excellence’ despite the fact these schools were already performing well.
Leaders of the Punjab Teachers Union demanded that the government not ‘outsource’ the public schools after which they would be sacked and their replacements hired at minimum monthly honorariums.