Bilal, a parent, told media that the network consisted of 28 schools and colleges in 10 cities of the country with a staff strength of 1700 including 108 Turkish teachers, teaching around 12,000 students from pre-school to A level. Since 1995, he added, the schools have been giving quality education to Pakistani students with no political motivation or illegal activity.
“All the Turkish teachers and administrators have left Pakistan and the schools are being run by Pakistanis,” said one of the parents Syed Amir Abdullah. He added that the government still seemed hell bent on ruining these institutions by handing them over to an ‘infamous organisation’ which has no experience of running them.
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 said that the schools and colleges would suffer if handed-over to the “poorly-equipped and infamous” Maarif Foundation.
As many as 108 Turkish employees of the Pak Turk Schools, along with their families, have been in the United Nations’ protection after Pakistani authorities denied them an extension in their visas to work in the country. The applicants had told UNHCR they feared arrest, coercion and torture by the Erdogan government in Turkey in case the Pakistani government forcibly deported them to Istanbul.
The R. Shahin Friendship School in Batumi, among the most in-demand schools in the whole country, was denied authorization by the General Educational Authorization Council of Georgia. Fingers are pointed at Turkey’s Erdogan as he is increasing political pressure on the countries where his arch-rival, Fethullah Gulen, still maintains a foothold.
A visiting Turkish university director who had yet to be convicted of any crime was finally released from the Sungai Buloh Prison after being conferred refugee status, which has been conferred by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). The UNHCR identification supersedes the cancellation of his visa.
Vietnam feels like an odd refuge for those who put their faith in one of Turkey’s most controversial political figures—a man who preaches peace, but has been accused of fomenting war. For Yildirim and others like him, however, it may prove the safest place in the world.
The Intercultural Dialogue Institute of uOttawa is organizing a panel – “Losing Touch with Humanity in Times of War.” At the panel, there also will be fundraising for a charity organization, the Peace and Progress International, which is actively working to improve conditions for Syrians in refugee camps.
At the heart of the matter is the question of Maa’rif’s credentials to take over the schools instead of its Pakistani management. Turkey is least known for its standard of education. Moreover, the Erdogan-backed organisation is neither experienced in the education field nor apolitical. The organisation is already scared with allegation of child sexually abuse in Turkey.
Amnesty South Asia Director Champa Patel: “With 24 million Pakistani children out of school, Pakistan’s decision to expel teachers from the Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges will only hurt Pakistan’s children. What the country needs is more classrooms and more teachers, not a politically-motivated decision to purge educators at the behest of the Turkish government.”
The Filipina mother who forcibly was separated from her infant and detained in Turkey for weeks has been released. But their reunion is being cut short by her deportation, in the crackdown following a failed coup in which she had no part. Information is being withheld from Karen’s lawyer and the Philippine Embassy staff assisting her. Forcible separation of an infant from her mother is a humanitarian concern.