Teachers and employees of educational institutions that do not enjoy the non-Monthly Pay Order (MPO) facilities have started an indefinite sit-in in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka, demanding nationalisation of all non-MPO institutions and their inclusion in the MPO list.
Starting from 8am on Tuesday, several hundred people, from non-MPO schools, colleges, madrasas and technical institutions from around the country, gathered there vowed to continue their protest until their demands are met.
The demands also include entitlement to salary, house rent, medical expenses and retirement benefits similar to assistant teachers.
They said they have been working without salaries and benefits from the government for the past 15 years and leading a miserable life, which were leading to a fall in the standard of education.
The teachers and staff of the non-MPO institutions have been demanding inclusion in the MPO list for a long-time. While assurances were made of meeting their demands every time, the government is yet to take any definite measure to end their sufferings.
The latest protest started a day after assistant teachers of primary schools, who were demanding a wage hike, called off their hunger strike following assurance from the government.
Lokman Hakim, a teacher at Kumarkhali Ahmadiya Alim Madrasa in Natore’s Barail, on Tuesday said: “We have worked a long-time without salaries, but it is not possible anymore. Our backs are against the wall.”
He said they would continue their sit-in program until the demands were met and also boycott the Textbook Festival on January 1 next year, if needed.
Golam Mahmudunnabi Dollar, acting president of Federation of Non-MPO Educational Institutions’ Teachers and Employees, said 98% of the educational institutions they represent were under private management.
He said more than 80,000 teachers and employees, without wages, were currently involved in teaching over 20 lakh students in around 6,000 such institutions that have not been included in the MPO list.
“If these institutions are not brought under MPO, then most of them will shut down gradually. And that will spell disaster for the education system on intermediate and secondary level,” Dollar said.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune