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Teachers of unrecognized Madrassas call off hunger strike after 40 days

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Kolkata: The hunger strike by teachers of unrecognized madrassas from West Bengal, pressing for better pay and state aid, was called off on Monday after the state government accepted most of their demands, a representative of the teachers said.

The strike was on its 40th day on Monday and was withdrawn at 4 p.m.

“The state government has agreed to most of our demands, including the inclusion of 495 madrassas under the state Madrassa Education Board. We will meet with the representatives of the state government on November 16 to discuss how the demands will be implemented,” the representative told IANS.

He said a circular will be issued soon after the meeting.

A group of teachers affiliated to the West Bengal MSK Staff Welfare Association were on a relay hunger strike near Hazi Mohammad Mohsin Square in central Kolkata pressing for affiliation to the Madrassa Education Board.

The madrassas seeking recognition are Madrassa Shiksha Kendras (MSKs), Shishu Shiksha Kendras (SSKs) and Madhyamik Shiksha Kendras.

(IANS)

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Child Rights Summit: Nations Should Spend More on Education Over Weapons

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Displaced Syrian children look out from their tents at Kelbit refugee camp, near the Syrian-Turkish border, in Idlib province, Syria, Jan. 17, 2018. VOA

Countries should spend more on schooling and less on weapons to ensure that children affected by war get an education, a child rights summit heard Monday.

The gathering in Jordan was told that a common thread of war was its devastating impact in keeping children out of school.

Indian Nobel laureate Kailash Satyarthi, who founded the summit, said ensuring all children around the world received a primary and secondary education would cost another $40 billion annually — about a week’s worth of global military expenditure.

ALSO READ: Politics and Education: A Relationship that contributes a lot in shaping our Future

child rights summit
Nobel Peace Prize laureates Kailash Satyarthi and Malala Yousafzai listen to speeches during the Nobel Peace Prize awards ceremony at the City Hall in Oslo, Dec. 10, 2014. VOA

“We have to choose whether we have to produce guns and bullets, or we have to produce books and pencils to our children,” he told the second Laureates and Leaders for Children Summit that gathers world leaders and Nobel laureates.

Global military expenditure reached almost $1.7 trillion in 2016, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The United Nations children’s agency UNICEF said last year 27 million children were out of school in conflict zones.

ALSO READ: Exclusive: How is One Woman Army changing the notions of Education in society?

“We want safe schools, we want safe homes, we want safe countries, we want a safe world,” said Satyarthi, who shared the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize with Pakistani schoolgirl Malala Yousafzai for his work with children.

Jordan’s Prince Ali bin al-Hussein told the summit, which focused on child refugees and migrants affected by war and natural disasters, that education was “key,” especially for “children on the move.”

“Education can be expensive, but never remotely as close to what is being spent on weapons. … They [children] are today’s hope for a better future,” he told the two-day summit.

Kerry Kennedy, president of Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights, a nonprofit group, described the number of Syrian refugees not in school in the Middle East as “shocking” as the war enters its eighth year.

Kennedy cited a report being released Tuesday by the KidsRights Foundation, an international children’s rights group, which found 40 percent of school-aged Syrian children living in Turkey, Lebanon, Jordan, Egypt, and Iraq cannot access education. VOA

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