Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid failed to persuade protesting teachers to end their three-day hunger strike on Tuesday despite climbing down from his hardline position against their campaign for their inclusion in the monthly pay-order.
When the hunger strike was first announced on Saturday, Minister Nahid had rebuffed the ultimatum by curtly saying protests “do not achieve anything” and that teachers should “instead go back to their homes”.
On Tuesday morning, however, Nahid visited the protesters outside the National Press Club and struck a softer tone when asking them to withdraw their strike.
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He lavished praise on the teachers, describing them as “the apple of the Ministry of Education’s eyes”, and said his ministry was going to prepare a draft with assistance from the law and finance ministries to bring teachers under MPO coverage.
However, when the protesting teachers asked for a specific date, Nahid said the concerned authorities were working on it, and will continue to work when Finance Minister AMA Muhith returns to Bangladesh from an overseas trip.
The protesters vocally rejected the minister’s assurances and demanded that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina personally address the issue.
Among the hunger striking teachers, 33 have become ill while three remain hospitalized at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. A further 11 teachers were taking saline.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune