Cantt boards refuse to relent as private schools up the ante | The Express Tribune


RAWALPINDI:

All 42 Cantonment boards across the country including in the Rawalpindi district have decided not to allow private schools functioning within their jurisdictions after winter vacations.

Sources said that lists of schools have been provided to inspectors and other high officials with strict instructions to seal schools and colleges functioning in their jurisdictions by December 31.

Meanwhile, around 8,350 private educational institutions functioning in cantonment areas across the country have started daily protests outside their respective schools. They have also cancelled winter vacations to ‘protect’ their schools from being sealed. They have announced that the schools will be closed for winter vacations after the matter is resolved.

The All-Pakistan Private Schools Association (APPSA) and the Joint Action Committee have made a joint appeal to the president, the army chief, the chief justice and the prime minister to intervene and issue directives to resolve the issue on humanitarian grounds.

On Friday, a large number of students and teachers from 356 private schools situated in Cantonment Board Chaklala and Cantonment Board Rawalpindi staged protests outside their respective schools and chanted slogans.

APPSA leaders including Abrar Ahmad Khan, Chaudhry Muhammad Tayyab, Raja Ilyas and Irfan Muzaffar Kayani said that the issue was becoming serious with each passing day. They said that the administrations of Cantonment boards have started sealing schools prematurely, which was provocative.

“If the Cantonment boards’ administration thinks that we will remain silent on our economic murder and allow our children to lose their livelihood, then it is mistaken,” they said. “Chalk, pen, books, and schoolbags should not be snatched from the hands of students and teachers,” they said.

They said that shutting down 8,550 schools in one night will close the doors of education on three million students and snatch jobs from 30,0000 teachers and 150,000 non-teaching staff, which will result in the rise of street crimes.

All schools situated in the limits of Rawalpindi and Chaklala Cantonment Boards will remain closed on Saturday. However, students and teachers of these schools will hold demonstrations outside their respective schools from 10 am to 12 am. They have announced to stage a sit-in at D-Chowk Islamabad from next week.

 

Published in The Express Tribune, December 18th, 2021.




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