Protesting teachers have threatened to shut down all educational institutions across Bangladesh on Thursday if their demands for inclusion in the government’s monthly pay-order (MPO) are not met.
Bangladesh Teachers Association President Nazrul Islam Rony confirmed the announcement and said leaders from the Bangladesh Teachers Association will be present from Thursday to express solidarity with the protesters.
Meanwhile, more teachers joined the fourth day of a hunger strike on Wednesday.
The president of the Non-MPO Educational Institutions Teachers Federation, Golam Mahmudunnabi Dollar, told the Bangla Tribune that most of the newly-arrived protesters were from Rajshahi and Faridpur.
Also Read - Non-MPO teachers, employees to go on hunger strike from Sunday
One of the teachers taking part in the hunger strike, Mahmudunnabi, fell ill on Tuesday and was admitted to Dhaka Medical College Hospital (DMCH). He rejoined the hunger strike after being released from hospital.
Forty-four other teachers had also fallen ill by Wednesday, with four of them admitted to DMCH.
Two doctors from the Civil Surgeon’s Office in Dhaka have been sent to monitor the health of the teachers taking part in the hunger strike.
The prominent writer and columnist, Syed Abul Maqsud, expressed solidarity with the protesters and warned that the government will be held responsible for the death of any protester.
“Unfortunately, those who were supposed to be in the class today had to come down on the street to press for their demands,” he said.
“No steps have been taken by the government to address the issue, despite repeated promises and assurances.”
Also Read - Nahid’s assurances fail to dissuade non-MPO teachers from hunger strike
On January 1, Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid tried to persuade the protesting teachers to end their hunger strike. The teachers rejected the minister’s call since Nahid failed to mention a timeframe within which the teachers would be brought under MPO coverage.
Non-MPO teachers have been campaigning for over 18 months for their inclusion in the MPO facilities.
They have submitted written memorandums to the prime minister and the education minister on several occasions, but no changes have been made in the 2016-17 and 2017-18 fiscal year in this regard.
This article was first published on Bangla Tribune