RAWALPINDI: Defying the government’s orders, Rawalpindi district’s schoolteachers have decided not to attend their schools on Sunday for the planned anti-dengue campaign.

Following the government’s decision of keeping the schools open on Sunday, the representatives of the teachers’ union met on Saturday at Gulshanabad School Rawalpindi, where they unanimously decided that teachers will not attend schools on Sunday.

Subsequently, Punjab Teachers’ Union (PTU) Rawalpindi issued a statement saying, “We [teachers] cannot compromise on our weekly off… Sunday means a complete rest day for the teachers and students… so we will not take part in any campaign.”

However, sources in the education department told Dawn that the teachers’ boycott cannot disturb Sunday’s programme because most of the schools have already finalised their plans and are in touch with the department.

Meanwhile, the PTU Rawalpindi’s press release further said launching the anti-dengue campaign was the responsibility of the health department.

“Throughout the year, teachers have to take part in various campaigns, such as dengue, polio, election duties, etc., which badly affects the education calendars. We are not supposed to run these campaigns, rather we are supposed to focus on teaching,” said Qazi Imran, a PTU office-bearer.

District Education Officer Shehnaz Jabeen told Dawn that schools would remain open on Sunday to organise various anti-dengue functions. When asked about the teachers’ boycott, she said: “I can’t say anything about the boycott; I would just say that we are going to observe an anti-dengue day on Sunday.”

According to the education department’s plan, the schools are supposed to arrange anti-dengue walks and various other functions.

Anti-dengue drive in Fatehjang

An ‘Anti-Dengue Day’ will be observed by the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) Fatehjang on Sunday, told a TMA spokesman on Saturday.

He said the sanitation of the city, including cleanliness of roads, drains and streets, along with the removal of collected rainwater, will be carried out under the campaign. Anti-dengue sprays will be conducted throughout the town to control the virus.

The spokesman said a seminar will also be held to raise awareness among locals about the dangers of dengue and possible ways of preventing it. The seminar will take place at the TMA Hall on Sunday. Meanwhile, a walk will also be arranged from TMA office till the Fatehjang Press Club.

Published in Dawn, September 14th , 2014