Pakistan - Parents slam Pak-Turk schools handover to Turkish 'Islamist' NGO. (ET).
LAHORE: Parents of students of Pak-Turk schools and colleges blasted the Pakistan government for handing over the education system to a Turkish nonprofit organization called Maarif Foundation. They alleged the move was an effort to gain political millage.
Speaking to the media at the Lahore Press Club on Friday, parents representing the Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges Parent-Teacher Association said their children’s future was put at stake to “please a foreign political party”.
They said that the schools and colleges would suffer if handed-over to the “poorly-equipped and infamous” Maarif Foundation. The speakers underlined they would be forced to take their children out of the schools if the government went ahead with the plan. They also threatened to protest, along with students, against the government. The parents said those taking over do not understand the education systems in Pakistan, whether it is matriculation or Cambridge.
Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges Parent-Teacher Association was represented by Qadeer Hussain, Adnan Kakar and Ghazala Bano. They all agreed Maarif Foundation was an infamous entity that would destroy the future of their children. Qadeer Hussain claimed that any school handed over to the Maarif Foundation was closed-down. “It is unacceptable that a complete chain of high-performing schools will be being destroyed at the behest of a foreign political party.”
Adnan Kakar said that the way Turkish teachers, who spent decades educating Pakistani children, were treated was shameful. He added foreign dictation would not be accepted as it was matter of their children’s future.
Ghazala Bano alleged members of the Maarif Foundation were involved with ISIS and some were imprisoned on terrorism charges. She said that around 30 teachers from Maarif were being trained at the National University of Modern Languages (NUML). “They are being taught English. How will they teach when they are learning the language of education at this stage?” She said Turkey’s domestic political issues should not impact Pakistani society and the government should think about the associated risks. She added the future of more than 15,000 students was at stake.
The Pak-Turk Schools and Colleges management is being pressurized to be handed over to Maarif Foundation as it has also filed petition to become party to the litigation process in Islamabad High Court.
Though funded by Turkey’s Ministry of Education, the nascent organization remains a mystery and source of anxiety for staff, parents and students of the Pak-Turk institutions alike.
Minister for National Education Ismet Yilmaz expressed that Turkey’s Maarif Foundation is the extension of the Ministry abroad and said, “It is a public foundation and founded by law. We also have our Ministry of National Education schools abroad; when they will be ready and when they will demand it from us, we will also transfer them to the Foundation.”
Not only will the Maarif Foundation be unable to accomplish anything conducive and rewarding, it will not be able to prepare the required generation of youth with open-mindedness and critical thinking.Maarif Foundation claims to have taken control of private Turkish schools in Somalia, Guinea, Chad, Senegal, Mauritania and Sudan.
Maarif Foundation is so desperate to hire staff to replace the Turkish schools abroad that it is offering jobs to inexperienced youth, many of whom has recently completed their degrees.
According to a study by the Turkey’s Ministry of National Education, there are 12,824 students who will be teaching and providing education in about 120 countries where Maarif is required to provide teaching staff as well as management.
The parents and staff members, privy to Turkey’s substantial share of problems in the education sector fear for that it will not be able to maintain the standard of teaching and management that has been the hallmark of the founding organization. In fact, Turkey’s annual education ratings are considerably inferior to many developing countries.
The activities of the Maarif Foundation, which has brought two-dozen teachers currently learning English at National University of Modern Languages, lack requisite offshore teaching experience as well as exposure to Pakistani culture and society.
The basic question arising here is as to why Pakistan should accept Turkish public sector teachers while its own citizens prefer the expensive but quality private sector education for their kids. A marginal number of Turkey’s MP would have attended public sector schools while their children surely are enrolled in private sector teaching institutions.
Besides lacking knowledge of Pakistani society, the staff sent from Turkey not only has been chosen on political basis but is also devoid of administrative and foreign language skills.
Given AKP’s close ties with Muslim Brotherhood, blind import of manpower will come with political ideology, which has been minimized in Pakistan’s schools and colleges after efforts of two decades.
Not only will the Maarif Foundation be unable to accomplish anything conducive and rewarding, it will not be able to prepare the required generation of youth with open-mindedness and critical thinking.