Some 106 madrasa teachers, who are on a hunger strike demanding nationalization of registered Ebtedayee madrasas, have fallen sick, as their movement continues for the fourth straight day.
Among them, seven are undergoing treatment at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, and the rest have been given saline.
Teaches of all registered Ebtedayee madrasas across the country have been on the hunger strike since Tuesday, in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka.
Kazi Ruhul Amin, president of Independent Ebtedayee Madrasa Teachers’ Association, said: “We have been working for 34 years without any salary. We have families to feed. The government must nationalize the institutions; or else we will have no choice but to die.
“We will continue the hunger strike until our demands are met.”
Echoing him, several teachers, who are on the strike, said Ebtedayee madrasas operate like the country’s primary schools do, but madrasa teachers do not get facilities on a par with teachers of the primary schools.
They added that they are struggling to make ends meet as prices of essentials and house rents are on the rise.
Following a human chain on November 10, 2017, Ebtedayee madrasa teachers submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, urging her to initiate the process of nationalizing the institutions by December 31.
As the teachers did not receive any response from the authorities concerned within December 30, they began a sit-in programme in front of the press club on January 1.
No increment since 1994
In 1994, Tk500 was fixed as monthly salary for teachers of registered non-government primary schools and independent Ebtedayee madrasas.
Though salaries of primary schools’ teachers were increased several times, salaries of the madrasas teachers have never been increased, according to a press release issued by the association.
A total of 26,193 non-government primary schools were nationalized in January 9, 2013.
Teachers of Ebtedayee madrasas claimed that they never received salary increments, nor did they see any initiative by the government to nationalize the madrasas.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune.