LAHORE, May 3: Demanding higher pay scales, better allowances and job quota for their wards etc, hundreds of schoolteachers held a meeting-cum-demo at Nasser Bagh on Thursday, besides staging five sit-ins on The Mall.

They announced that they would boycott all non-academic duties as the authorities concerned had been ignoring their longstanding demands.

The demo-meeting was called by the Punjab Teachers Union (PTU) and the Joint Action Committee of Teachers (JACT), Punjab.

Attended by teachers from across the province, the protest meeting began at 10:45am instead of its scheduled time of 8am where participants chanted slogans against the Punjab government and demanded their genuine demands should be met.

PTU central president Syed Sajjad Akbar Kazmi said the teachers’ leaders had been conveying to the people at the helm of affairs teachers’ problems but in vain. The government had compelled the teachers to take to streets, he added.

Later, the protesters came on The Mall, removing barricades placed there by police.

They staged a sit-in in front of Punjab University’s Old Campus and then moved on. Their second sit-in was at the GPO Chowk, third at Regal Chowk, fourth at Faisal Chowk and the final sit-in was staged in front of Chief Minister’s Secretariat.

Traffic on The Mall remained choked till the protesters dispersed around 2:15pm.

Speaking to protesters in front of CM’s Secretariat, PTU and JACT leaders Syed Sajjad Akbar Kazmi, Rana Liaquat, Rana Atta and Aslam Ghuman said the government was continuously insulting teachers.

They said the government policies were causing sense of insecurity among teachers. They also termed Chief Minister School Education Road Map a fraud.

Listing teachers’ demands, Mr Kazmi said primary and elementary teachers should be given BPS-16, SSTs be given BPS-17, while Subject Specialists be given BPS-18.

He said the government should either give time-scale promotions to teachers or incentive package against all sanctioned posts of teachers.

The PTU president demanded that teachers’ pay scales should be revised by merging 65 per cent ad hoc relief. He said the house rent and medical allowance should be raised up to 60 per cent and 25 per cent, respectively, while conveyance allowance should be doubled.

He said the benevolent fund should be transferred to the Punjab Teacher Foundation and the body should be made functional.

PTU and JACT leaders also demanded teachers’ appointment according to the sanctioned strength, in-service quota promotions, job quota for teachers’ wards as well as fee waiver for their higher studies.

The teachers also demanded that students should be given the choice to opt for either Urdu medium or English medium education in public sector colleges.

They demanded that ‘interference’ of NGOs, board of governors and monitoring cells in school education should be abolished.

They also demanded that school education should not be placed under local governments, as being proposed.

They warned if their demands were not accepted at the earliest, they would stage a protest sit-in in front of Parliament House in Islamabad on May 16.

(Dawn)

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