Schools in Islamabad reopened on Thursday after the Ministry of Education assured the teaching and non-teaching staff that their concerns about the Local Government Ordinance will be addressed.
The school staff in the capital had boycotted classes since Nov. 30 protesting against the Local Government Ordinance 2021, under which the regulatory body of schools and colleges in Islamabad – Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) — will be placed under the control of the mayor of ICT.
In addition to the protest against the ordinance, the teaching staff was also criticizing the education ministry’s decision to separate 33 colleges from the directorate, apparently, to evade their devolution to the local government.
The Ministry of Education on Wednesday announced to withdraw the notification about the said ordinance and also guaranteed the protesters to take up their reservations with the government.
A press release issued by the education ministry stated: “The ministry officials on behalf and direction of the minister assured the representatives of the association that the government is fully aware of their reservations and will ensure that all their service matters will be dealt by the federal government through the ministry of education under civil servants act and no measure will be taken to alter their terms and conditions of service to their disadvantage”.
President of School Teachers Association Malik Ameer Khan confirmed that the teachers have decided to call off the strike.
“Yes, we have decided to call off our strike and schools will be reopened from Thursday. We are thankful to Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood and other officers of education ministry for listening to our voices,” said Malik Ameer Khan.
“We have two demands: removal of section 166 from Local Government Ordinance and withdrawal of the notification of separating 33 colleges from FDE. One of our demands has been accepted through notification, while we were assured that the ministry will take up our case with the federal government,” he added.
Malik Ameer Khan also maintained that if the ministry did not remove section 166 from the ordinance, teachers of capital will hold a protest again and will resume the strike as well. He further said that, after discussing with all stakeholders, the association will set a deadline for the government to remove the said section from the ordinance.
Secretary (Education) Naheed Durrani and Additional Secretary Mohaiyyuddin Ahmed Wani lead the talks with the protestors and convinced them to call off their strike and reopen schools.