December 5, 2016

Pak-Turk schools: Concerns aired over change of administration

Teachers and parents associated with the Pak-Turk Schools in Karachi have voiced their concerns over the reported transfer of administration of the school to the Turkey-based Maarif Foundation.

Speaking at a press conference at the Karachi Press Club on Saturday, Mohammed Zeeshan Akhtar, an Urdu teacher at the Pak-Turk School Gulistan-i-Jauhar branch, said he had brought with him ‘evidences’ to prove his claim.

Beginning with the recent statement of Minister of State for Federal Education and Special Training Balighur Rehman, Mr Akhtar said they were informed by the minister that the government was not shutting down schools.

“He has informed us that they are replacing old teachers with the new ones. That’s precisely our reservation with the development,” added Mr Akhtar.

The Pak-Turk school teachers will be replaced with the teachers belonging to a recently registered foundation in Turkey, Maarif Foundation, he added.

“It was founded three months ago. And we have huge reservations regarding the experience and conduct of its staff,” he said.

The management of the school was sent letters by the interior ministry in mid-November giving them a week to leave the country.

The school administration believes that the action is taken to appease Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who believes that the school promotes and teaches his arch-rival and cleric Fethullah Gulen’s teachings.

The management of the school has repeatedly refuted the charge and added a disclaimer on its school’s website following the orders of the interior ministry.

Giving a background of the administration, he said that the Pak-Turk Schools got registered in Pakistan in 1995 under the Companies Ordinance 1984.

“Twenty-six schools, with 12,000 students and 1,500 Pakistani teachers, led by a group of 150 Turkish teachers, have been working alongside for the past twenty-one years. We received information from the government representatives that a batch of teachers belonging to the Maarif Foundation had already reached Pakistan.

How can you bring in new and inexperienced teachers to run a system established by someone else?” Mr Akhtar asked.

Published on Pakistan Observer, 5 December 2016, Monday