A total of 134 teachers fell ill due to weak health and cold as teachers and staff members of private schools continued their indefinite hunger strike on Friday in Dhaka.
The protesters, who are employees of schools enlisted for the government's Monthly Pay Order (MPO) facilities, continued their sit-in demonstration in front of the National Press Club for the 12th day demanding nationalization of their institutions.
Leaders of the Private Education Nationalization Liaison Forum – the banner under which six associations of private school teachers and staff members have banded together to press home their demand – said teachers were coming from all over the country to join in the sit-in demonstration and the indefinite hunger strike.
“The government has yet to respond positively to our demand,” said one of the protesters.
The leaders urged all private schools across the country to observe strike on Saturday and Sunday.
Weakened by the hunger strike and cold weather, 134 protesting teachers have fallen ill. Among them, 10 fell ill on Thursday, five of whom had to be hospitalized.
Joining in the demonstration for nationalization of education institutions, private school teachers started their sit-in program in front of the National Press Club on January 10, and launched their hunger strike on January 15.
Private school teachers say the nationalization process – which covers discrimination in terms of salary, leaves, increments, allowances and bonuses – has been pending for over 50 years.
“There is no alternative to nationalization of education system in order to help students grow up as good citizens and ending the wage discrimination among teachers,” said Motiur Rahman Dulal, joint convener of the Liaison Forum and an assistant teacher at Khilgaon Model School in Dhaka.