KARACHI/ISLAMABAD: The alliances of Pakistan’s private schools and madressahs on Sunday warned of “a long march and sit-ins” if all educational institutes were not allowed to reopen by September 15.
The warnings came during a joint press conference held by the All Pakistan Private Schools & Colleges Association (APPSCA) and the Ittehad-e-Tanzeemat-e-Madaris Pakistan (ITMP), or Madaris Alliance Pakistan, a federation of madressah boards, including the Wifaq-ul-Madaris Al-Arabia — the country’s largest bloc of Islamic seminaries.
The media director and spokesperson of the Wifaq-ul-Madaris Al-Arabia, Moulana Abdul Quddus Muhammadi, said the institutions were trying to resume educational activities in the country.
“Exams were held keeping in view the SOPs [standard operating procedures],” Muhammadi noted, adding that the education sector, like other sectors, should be given a chance to reopen.
‘Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C’
APPSCA President Kashif Mirza said some 84% of parents were currently in favour of opening schools, according to a survey. “At the NCOC (National Command and Operations Centre), the health ministry recommended restarting classes for young children,” he explained.
“The education institutes in colder regions have been closed for the past 10 months and an 85-day session was held over the past two years,” he added.
Mirza lamented how the government did not consider helping teachers across the country through its much-touted Ehsaas programme. “We will not tolerate any further delays in opening the educational institutes,” he warned.
“We have a plan to make our long march a success; we have a Plan A, Plan B, and a Plan C as well,” he said. “We will make a formal announcement after the government’s decision tomorrow.”
“We will hold sit-ins until we get what we deserve,” Mirza stressed.
’40 million children affected’
On the other hand, the president of the APPSCA’s Central chapter, Malik Abrar Hussain, spoke of how the government did not provide relief for the country’s educational institutes in the budget for 2020-21.
“Hundreds of thousands of educational institutes were closed and some 40 million children affected” due to the lockdown aimed at curbing the coronavirus spread, Hussain said, adding that 40,000 schools had shut down.
“All educational institutes must reopen on September 15,” he said, warning that if all classes were not allowed to resume by that date, “we will hold a long march and sit-ins”.
“All classes from the playgroup and up should restart on September 15 to start again education in the country,” the official said.