QUETTA: The students and staff of Pak-Turk schools held a protest in Quetta, fearing the closure of the educational institutions by the federal government. The protesters called on the government to keep education and politics separate.
The protest comes on the heels of a request by the Turkish government to take action against Pak-Turk schools after the failed putsch in Turkey, blamed on reclusive cleric Fethullah Gulen.
The Turkish government has approached its allies across the globe seeking action against Gulen's business interests such as the established network of schools. There are 28 institutions being run by the foundation in Pakistan. It is also planning to establish a university.
Parents of the students participated in the protest and shouted slogans against any action that would adversely affect the academic career of their children.
“There are around 1500 students studying in the Quetta branch of the school, out of which 200 students come from poor families,” said Jamil Ahmad Kakar, a teacher at the school.
Kakar lamented that poverty-stricken students would be unable to pursue their education if the government shuts down the school.
“A number of students who study here come from areas such as Awaran, Turbat and Khuzdar. If the school network is shut down, it will further hurt the educational system of the province,” added Kakar.
Despite Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu's visit earlier this month, and Pakistan's assurance of helping the 'brotherly nation', the fate of Pak-Turk schools remains uncertain across the country.
Cavusoglu stated both Turkey and Pakistan are sensitive to aspirations of students and their families.
The province of Balochistan suffers from dismal educational infrastructure. Balochistan, according to the census conducted in 1998, has 22,000 settlements and the number of schools is currently 13,000.
The province also suffers from a high dropout rate, out of 1.3 million children, only around 50,000 students appear in metric examinations every year.