The clamour for nationalization has gotten louder with private school teachers, who are enlisted under the government’s Monthly Pay Order (MPO), joining Ebtedayee madrasa teachers in their demonstration.
Following their ultimatum to the government given earlier, private school teachers started their fast unto death in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka on Monday as their demand for nationalization was not met by Sunday.
They have been holding a sit-in protest there since January 10, led by Private Education Nationalization Liaison Forum – a collective front for various teachers’ organizations and associations.
Joint convener of the forum Motiur Rahman Dulal said their hunger strike would continue until their demands were met. “There is no alternative to nationalization of education system for helping the students grow up as good citizens and ending the wage discrimination among teachers.
“We believe the prime minister will hear our demand and nationalize the education system,” said Dulal, who is also an assistant teacher at Khilgaon Model School.
Also Read- Finance minister: Demonstrating teachers will get nothing
However, their decision to take the demonstration up a notch came a day after Finance Minister AMA Muhith said no matter how many demonstrations teachers of state-run primary schools, private schools and Ebtadayee madrasas staged to realize their demands of pay scale upgrade, MPO enlistment and nationalization, they will not receive anything.
“They [the teachers] are free to do as many demonstrations as they want. They won’t get anything,” he said on Sunday.
Blaming the Ministry of Education for its lame duck approach towards amending the MPO policy, Muhith also said he would set some tough conditions for the aforementioned ministry if it wanted to bring in more private schools under the MPO policy.
The private school teachers say that the nationalization process – which covers discrimination in terms of salary, leaves, increments, allowances and bonuses – has been pending for over 50 years.
Organization leaders said it would not be possible for them to maintain the quality of education without nationalization of the sector.
Previously, the teachers wanted to hold their program at Central Shaheed Minar premises, but were not allowed over security issues. The protesters then moved to National Press Club.
This article was first published on banglatribune.com