Teachers call off hunger strike on PM's assurance
Six days into their hunger strike demanding MPO facilities, non-MPO teachers called off the progamme yesterday following Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina's assurance that the demand would be fulfilled.
With the assurance, PM's Personal Secretary Sazzadul Hassan went to the demonstrating teachers in front of the Jatiya Press Club around 4:30pm. After that, the teachers withdrew their strike.
"We are calling off our programme, keeping trust in the PM's assurance,” said Binoy Bhusan Roy, general secretary of Non-MPO Educational Institutions' Teachers and Employees Federation, which led the demonstration.
Golam Mahmudunnabi, president of the platform, said the teachers would now return home and start holding classes again from today.
Quoting the PM's secretary, Mahmudunnabi said, "The prime minister directed the education ministry to take effective measures to bring all recognised educational institutions under the Monthly Pay Order scheme. Then, we decided to call off the hunger strike.
"We hope that the assurance will be translated into action soon, considering sufferings of the teachers."
Although most of the demonstrating teachers became exhausted due to the long hunger strike, a smile spread across their faces as they heard about the PM's assurance.
The teachers started cheering as soon as they came to know that all of them are going to get the MPO facility. They also thanked the PM for the move.
They also shared the news with their colleagues and family members outside Dhaka over mobile phone.
With a smiling face, most of them began to leave the Press Club area for their home after an hour of the announcement.
“I have lost my words to express my happiness at this moment. It is the biggest achievement in my life,” said Kawsar Hossain, a schoolteacher of Naogaon, who took part in the demonstration from the beginning.
Ashraful Haque Lavlu, joint secretary of the teachers' platform, told the newspaper that they were waiting for the PM's assurance as Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid's assurance had not been fulfilled. “The prime minister has finally fulfilled our expectation."
Over a hundred teachers from non-MPO schools, colleges, madrasas and technical educational institutions first staged a sit-in protest in front of the Press Club and then went for a hunger strike unto death on Sunday to press home their demand.
According to leaders of the federation, the number of non-MPO education institutions is 5,242, where around 80,000 teachers are working without any pay, some for more than a decade.
The MPO is the government's share in the payroll of the non-government education institutions. Under the scheme, the government gives 100 percent basic to the teachers of non-government schools. The teachers also get a lump sum amount as other allowances from the MPO.
As per rules, an education institution first comes under the MPO facilities followed by its teachers getting included in the government payroll.