Ibtedayi madrassah teachers called off their fast-unto-death on the eighth day on Tuesday after a senior official assured them of government’s sincerity in realising their demand for nationalisation of all primary-level madrassahs under the Bangladesh Madrassah Education Board.
The teachers ended their hunger strike around 2:15pm after Technical and Madrassah Education Division secretary Mohammad Alamgir informed them that the government was working on the issue and would start formulation of the nationalisation process soon.
The secretary broke their fast by offering them juices to drink in front of the National Press Club in Dhaka where several hundred teachers had been demonstrating on the roads and footpaths since January 9 despite chilling cold under the banner of Bangladesh Swatantra Ibtedayi Madrassah Shikkhak Samiti.
Alamgir said that education minister Nurul Islam Nahid and state minister Kazi Keramat Ali had met with finance minister AMA Muhith to discuss the issue and Muhith sought information about the madrassahs.
‘We’ll send information in two or three days,’ Alamgir added.
The teachers welcomed the development and said that they would go for demonstrations again if they saw nothing positive in the pre-budget discussions, said Mokhlesur Rahman, secretary general of the teachers’ association.
In the morning, five representatives of teachers led by the Samiti president Qazi Ruhul Amin Chowdhury met with Keramat to resolve the issue.
During the eight days of hunger strike, at least 200 teachers fell sick and about 20 teachers were hospitalised.
Earlier on Sunday and Monday, the teachers rejected the calls of Nahid and Keramat twice to end their hunger strike.
On January 1, the teachers started their demonstrations to press home their six-point demand, including nationalisation of Ibtedayi madrassahs, their salaries under national pay scale, construction of separate buildings for Ibtedayi madrassahs and trainings for them similar to primary school teachers.
About 50,000 teachers of 10,000 ibtedayi madrassahs have been living in inhuman condition without adequate salaries, teachers said.
A group of teachers and employees under the banner of Non-Government Teachers and Employees Forum, meanwhile, continued their fast-unto-death for the second day on Tuesday.
About 200 teachers and employees, after continuing their sit-in programme for six days till January 14, started their fast-unto-death on Monday, at the same venue demanding nationalisation of all non-government schools and colleges.
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