- Final notices issued to schools, colleges to shift out of residential areas, says official
- Protesters ask cantonment authorities to provide them alternative place
RAWALPINDI: Private school and college owners along with hundreds of teachers and students on Tuesday staged a protest rally from Rawalpindi Cantonment Board (RCB) to Chaklala Cantonment Board (CCB) after they were served with notices to vacate residential areas by December 31.
The RCB has issued notices to 495 private schools and colleges to shift out from residential areas under the directives of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, an official said.
The protesters demanded that the eviction of private educational institutions from residential areas should be stopped until the cantonment administration provides them an alternative place to operate.
When contacted, RCB spokesman Qaiser Mehmood told Dawn that final notices had been issued to 495 private schools and colleges to shift out of residential areas otherwise strict action would be taken against them, including sealing of their buildings.
He said the RCB had also displayed banners at prominent places in the cantonment for the information of the public, parents, principals and owners of the educational institutions.
The institutions were earlier issued several notices to shift from the residential buildings by December-end so that the academic year of the students could be saved, he added.
In 2018, the cantonment boards had declared private schools and colleges in residential areas illegal and issued notices to the owners.
On Tuesday, the Joint Action Committee of All-Pakistan Private Schools and Colleges Association along with teachers, students and parents held the rally and later staged a protest in front of the RCB offices.
Former MNA and PML-N Divisional President Malik Abrar Ahmed, leader of the Joint Action Committee Chaudhry Mohammad Tayyab and Malik Azhar Mahmood, Nasir Mahmood and Abrar Ahmad Khan were also present.
The protesters were carrying placards and chanting slogans in favour of their demands. They urged the chief justice of Pakistan, the prime minister and the army chief to stop the eviction of private educational institutions from the cantonment areas.
Malik Abrar Ahmed announced his support for the protesters, including students and teachers.
He said the private schools and colleges served people and provided better education on reasonable fees.
Chaudhry Tayyab said middle class parents will face problems to enroll their children in schools located away from their homes if the schools were shifted out of residential areas.
He said the closure of street schools will also leave thousands of teachers unemployed.
Others speakers said educational institutions operating in the cantonments were fulfilling all the legal requirements.
They said in all the 42 cantonment boards, private educational institutions provided revenue to the cantonment managements.
The cantonment administration should provide an alternative place for the private educational institutions, they added.
They also said due to the closure of such a large number of educational institutions, the door of education would be closed on 3.7 million students.
Published in Dawn, December 8th, 2021