February 25, 2017

Parents slam handing over of Pak-Turk schools to Turkish NGO

Parents of students of Pak-Turk schools and colleges blasted the Pakistan government for handing over the education system to a Turkish non-governmental organisation (NGO) called Maarif Foundation.

They alleged that the NGO had ties with the Islamic State (IS) group. During a press conference at the Lahore Press Club on Friday, parents representing the Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges Parent-Teacher Association said their children's future was put at stake to "please a foreign political party". Ghazala Khan, a hostel warden and previous student of the school, claimed that the NGO Maarif had ties with IS and some of its activists were recently arrested and were imprisoned. "This NGO is going to take over all of the Pak Turk schools across the country and it will be responsible for future of 10,000 to 15,000 students, she said. She added: "A prime minister of a country for his personal relations with a president of another country has put the future of thousands of students at stake."

Qadeer Hussain, father of three, was of the view that the Pak Turk schools were registered under the Pak-Turk Foundation, which is registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP). "This foundation is totally working legally and constitutionally, besides none of its activist or member has been found in anti-Pakistan or anti-state activities," he added. "If we are being provided with the replacement of Turkish teachers then why the government has agreed to handing schools over to a NGO. Future of our children should not be used for to gain a political mileage."

Adnan Kakar, another father, observed: "We are already getting dictation in so many other things at least spare education sector. It is astonishing that some Turkish teachers were forced to leave country on a short notice and teachers from the same country were being asked to serve in the same school," he said, and asked if there was any guarantee that the newly hired teachers would not be involved in anti-state activities. "Besides, the Maarif teachers are not known to the education system of Pakistan. They even do not know how to speak English. The government is going to spoil the education sector," Adnan said.

In August 2016, the government of Pakistan asked teachers of the Pak-Turk schools to leave the country within two days because they were working under an NGO run by [people inspired by the ideas of] Fethullah Gulen, who was allegedly involved in failed coup in Turkey. [Gulen denies accusations].

Published on Daily Times, 25 February 2017, Saturday