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Kindergarten council demands reopening schools

  • Published at 08:23 pm November 10th, 2020
Kindergarten School
File photo: Students at a kindergarten school Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The Bangladesh Kindergarten School and College Oikya Parishad urges the government to provide financial aid to kindergarten teachers

The council for kindergartens in the country has demanded that the government reopen schools, and provide aid to the helpless teachers of kindergartens to survive during the pandemic.

Members of Bangladesh Kindergarten School and College Oikya Parishad pressed home the aforementioned demands during a press conference at the National Press Club in Dhaka on Tuesday.

The council demanded that educational institutions be reopened following the government’s health safety guideline for Covid-19.

“Teachers are not getting their salaries as the educational institutions are closed. Private tuition is also suspended now, given the situation. In this circumstance, the schoolteachers have no source of income and are living in inhuman conditions,” Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury, president of Bangladesh Kindergarten School and College Oikya Parishad, said at the press conference.

He further said the educational institutions are dependent on the monthly tuition fees of the students, and 99% of them are run in rented houses. 

Many institutions have to pay subsidy for non-payment of 40% monthly tuition fee for students, 40% salaries of teachers, officers and staff, and the remaining 20% for utility bills at a commercial rate, he added. 

The council pleaded Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to accept their demands. 

Also Read - Over 500 kindergartens closed, teachers changing profession

Kindergartens have been closed across Bangladesh since March 17, along with other schools, colleges and universities, after the first cases of Covid-19, a deadly viral disease that has become a global pandemic, was reported in the country on March 8. 

A number of those kindergartens were shut down as the authorities were unable to continue to pay rent. 

Out of work and with no source of income, many kindergarten teachers were forced to change their profession, said the members of Bangladesh Kindergarten School and College Oikya Parishad. 

There are around 60,000 kindergartens in Bangladesh employing nearly 1,000,000 teachers. Around 90% of the schools operate in rented houses and are dependent on tuition fees for managing expenditure, according to Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury.

Earlier in September, Iqbal said at least 500 kindergartens across Bangladesh had closed down and thousands of teachers had become jobless since the the Covid-19 pandemic hit the country. 

“Management are selling their schools because of the financial crunch. We have formed human chains and submitted memorandums to the government demanding support from the government, but no assistance has come forth, so far,” he added.

When Dhaka Tribune contacted him in September, Primary and Mass Education Senior Secretary Akram-Al-Hossain said they were not yet considering any assistance for kindergarten schools.

Dhaka Tribune made several attempts to contact the primary and mass education senior secretary on Tuesday for a comment on any progress in this regard, but he could not be reached. 

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