Teachers of independent ebtedayee madrasas launched an indefinite sit-in in front of the National Press Club in the capital on Sunday, demanding the nationalisation of their jobs.
Around 2,000 teachers from the country's different ebtedayee madrasas – primary level educational institutions registered under the Bangladesh Madrasa Education Board – took part in the sit-in, demanding the nationalisation of all such registered institutions.
Speakers at the event said ebtedayee madrasas are being administered all over the country as per Section 17(2) of the 1978 ordinance, fulfilling all the conditions set by the madrasa education board. The salary of private primary school teachers and independent ebtedayee madrasa teachers was set through the same gazette notification in 1994.
"Although the salaries of primary school teachers have been increased, phase by phase, since then – and finally, in 2013, 26,193 private primary schools were nationalised – not a single ebtedayee madrasa has been nationalised. This is a completely discriminatory practice towards thousands of ebtedayee madrasa teachers," they said.
Matiar Rahman joined the demonstration coming from Barishal where he is a teacher at Purbo Dudhal Islamia Ebtedayee Madrasa. He told The Business Standard, "I have been teaching at the ebtedayee madrasa without a salary in the hope of a getting a government job since 1984."
"Although jobs of private primary school teachers have been nationalised, we have been deprived of the opportunity, whereas we also hold classes from 9am to 4pm. Primary school teachers get a Tk22,000-Tk30,000 salary and we are provided with just a Tk500 allowance," he added.
Sekander Ali, 52, a teacher of Garial Shamsuddin Islamia Ebtedayee Madrasa in Jhenidah Sadar, said, "We, the teachers of 1,519 independent ebtedayee madrasas, have been deprived of our salaries and allowances for the last 36 years."
"Although the government promised it would nationalise our jobs in 2018, this has yet to be fulfilled," he said, adding that such behaviour is inhuman.
Saying that ebtedayee madrasa teachers are suffering a lot because of the tough Covid-19 situation, he said, "We are urging the government to give us an opportunity to survive the pandemic along with our nearest and dearest ones."