LAHORE/ISLAMABAD/KARACHI - Teachers took to the streets to on Saturday to observ World Teachers’ Day as black day against government’s apathy.
The world has been marking Teachers’ Day since 1944. Pakistani teachers have been observing the day as black day to raise voice for their right. They say it is meaningless to mark the day when authorities have no interest in resolving their problems.
The Punjab Teachers’ Union led the demonstrations across the province Saturday. Troubled Teachers set up a protest camp in front Punjab Assembly against proposed district education authority, nominal salaries and extra-academic duties. The protesters were holding placards and banners inscribed with their demands.
Addressing on the occasion, Punjab Teachers’ Union leaders – including Syed Sajjad Kazmi, Rana Arshad, Rana Liaqat Ali, Zafar Sindho and Aslam Ghuman – said that they believe in peaceful struggle for their rights. They said the government never consults them over education policies and politicians assign them extra academic duties, adding to their woes and affecting results of their students.
They called 2013 ‘Year of Disregard for Teachers’ saying that this year, women teachers were forced to join in Universal Primary Education Survey.
Opposing District Education Authority (DEA), they said the body will destroy educational system thus they would resist it.
They said that the PML-N government always landed teachers in troubles.
“They always try to enslave the teachers. Teachers enjoy high respect in every civilized society which is secret of their development but in Pakistan, teachers are at the mercy of the bureaucracy,” they added.
On the occasion, the PTU president announced a demo at Educational Complex on October 12 and vowed to continue with their their struggle. Punjab Professors and Lecturers Association, Tanzim-e-Aastiza and Senior School Staff Association held a demonstration in front of Lahore Press Club. However, some elite educational institutions organised functions to celebrate the day.
In Karachi, the Sindh Education Foundation (SEF) held a ceremony in connection with the day in which Sindh Education Minister Nisar Khoro said there was no stronger foundation for lasting peace and sustainable development than a quality education provided by well-trained, valued, supported and motivated teachers.
“Being a teacher is a highly respected profession and that teachers have more of a responsibility at times towards the development of children than parents even,” he said
Other speacker were Saba Mahmood (Chief Program Manager, Reform Support Unit), Dr Kaiser Bengali (Economist), Prof Dr Bernadette Dean (Principal, St Joseph’s College), Wajih Akhtar (Media Development Practitioner), Prof Anita Ghulam Ali (S.I.) (Managing Director, Sindh Education Foundation) and Aziz Kabani (Director, Sindh Education Foundation).
Aziz Kabani said that teacher absenteeism was a major issue plaguing the education sector and it is a matter that needs to be resolved urgently. He said according to the ASER report the state of literacy and education is far below. He said that the problem with education is not with the demand but the supply.
Separately, SMI University celebrated Teacher’s Day at the Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto Auditorium. A cake cutting ceremony was also held.
Dr. Anjum Bano Kazmi, Acting VC, said today’s day offers an opportunity to understand the importance of a teacher. “Whenever, a teacher will realize his importance, he will be more responsible towards his or her nation and the country,” she said.
In Islamabad, the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) and Ghazali Education Trust celebrated the day
Thousands of students, teachers from various institutions, civil society members and a large number of people from diversified folks of life including social and educational fields, participated in the walk. Participants of the walk, which started from China Chowk to D-Chowk, were holding placards and banners containing slogans of teacher's veneration and reverence to the participants. It urged to evoke the role and significance of the teachers by furnishing them with such privilege and facilities as are restricted to the aristocracy and bureaucracy only but they must be encouraged by confessing their valuable services on federal, provincial and district levels.
Acme and zenith of the nation is always concealed in the reverence of the teachers. The nation suffers from delineation by diminishing the respect of the teacher. Teacher is that specific entity to produce efficient and civil pupils and patriotic generations as well.
It stressed teachers are deemed as nation builders and are glorified as spiritual parents. This profession has occupied a status of such an industry, which is not only the fountainhead of all human traits but also encompasses the whole life of man. Obviously, the nations are laurelled with sublimity due to veneration of their teachers.
PTI leader Fozia Qasoori, paying homage to the role of the teachers, expressed that a considerable number of this profession belongs to an "economic strained" and "middle class". So, it's the duty of the government to manage their problems and generalise a policy to augment their dignity.
Unesco Deputy Director & Programme Specialist Dr Roshan Chitrakar, ED GET Syed Amir Mehmood and others reiterated that teachers were the mirrors of educational institutions and non-availability of resources and economic instability were the crucial problems of the teachers.
It is an obligatory duty, rests upon the government, to care their services structure and enhance it upon excellent standards. The participants of the walk, for the safeguard of teacher's services, increments in their salaries and promotion demanded to organise a commission to chalk out a concert policy.
Teachers should be inducting on permanent basis. Professional training courses should conduct at a large scale to promote the literacy rate and teachers should be kept in priority for the assistance in the projects launched. They should be given better grades according to their skills and qualification. Accommodation should be provided to the teachers and the government owns the responsibility of teachers' children education and medical expenses.
Special priorities should be conferred to distinguish them from the other folks of society. If the government succeeds to resolve the anxieties, they would perform their responsibilities zealously.
In the meanwhile, seminars, walks and programmes regarding reverence and dignity of the teachers, were conducted in 354 schools of Ghazali Education Trust in towns and villages to pay homage and tribute to the teachers.
Department of Education (Female) of International Islamic University Islamabad (IIUI) also arranged walk and a seminar on World Teachers' Day at female campus of the university to evoke the role and the significance of teachers. Number of students participated to mark the day.
The participants of the walk were carrying banners and placards highlighting the status of teacher as a nation-builder and with demands to the government and society to give due respect to teachers.
Speakers were of the view that teachers play vital role in imparting quality education to guarantee a bright future. Dr Samina Malik, chairperson department of education, and faculty members were also there on the occasion. Students delivered speeches on the importance of teacher's day and presented different types of skits, poems, to pay tribute to their teachers. Students also gave greeting cards and flowers to teachers.