It is unfortunate to see one of the best private schools in Pakistan suffer due to political agendas, as new management for Pak-Turk schools and colleges has arrived from Turkey and likely to take over the charge soon, Pakistan Today has learnt reliably.
Sources in Turk embassy told Pakistan Today that the Maaref Foundation is all set to take over the Pak-Turk Schools, as its members have arrived in Pakistan.
They said that since the all the Turk staffers have been relieved of their duties, affiliated with the Schools system for around two-decade, the new management was summoned from Turkey to ensure the smooth running of the schools which at present are facing quite uncertain situation.
However, they said that there are some issues which are needed to be settled prior to assume the charge.
Turkey, in August, asked the federal government to close down all the institutes which are allegedly run by Fethullah Gulen, the US-based religious leader who was accused of masterminding the recent coup attempt in Turkey.
They said that Pakistani and Turkish governments reached a deal to transfer the control of these schools from the Pak-Turk Education Foundation to the Turkish government’s subsidiary, Maaref Foundation.
Soon after the government’s decision to deport Turkish staffers, the management of Pak-Turk Schools replaced the Turkish nationals serving on administrative posts in its schools and colleges with locals.
However, sources said that the handing over from Turkish to Pakistani management is mere an eyewash, as mostly people hired were loyal to Gulen Foundation and have been given key management positions.
They said people who are given lead role in the new management were regularly visiting Turkey where they were imparted training by Gulen Foundation.
Currently more than 11,000 students and 1,500 teachers are linked to the Turkish charity schools in Pakistan, with a total of 28 schools and colleges in major cities of Pakistan.
A senior official in Pak-Turk International told this scribe on condition of anonymity that the government’s decision was challenged by the management to ensure return of the old management hence efforts afoot to take visa extension for the teaching staff.
The official said there are reports that the government is mulling over to bring its own management, which would be very unfortunate development, as it was not a government entity.
The teaching staff and their children studying in the schools are not coming to the schools across the country for the last over one week; however, they could rejoin the schools if the matter is resolved, official maintained.
The official further said that the management replaced its Turk teaching staff with locals and the replacement has been made smoothly and on merit, as a number of teachers, who have already been in waiting list were re-interviewed to fill the deficiency.
The board of directors also issued a public announcement on the official website: “We feel it imperative to clarify that the PakTurk International Schools and Colleges in Pakistan are a philanthropic and non-political endeavour in the country organized and established for human development, inter alia, in the field of education for the benefit of all Pakistanis.”
“PakTurk International Schools and Colleges are deeply concerned over the abrupt decision of the government requiring the Turkish teachers, management and their family members numbering to approximately 450 individuals including the school-going children, infants and ladies to leave the country within three days – an extraordinary time constraint – in consequence of non-approval of their requests for extension of visa.”
The statement read: “We are in touch with the related authorities and are constantly assessing the situation relying on the commitment of the Government of Pakistan’s concerned authorities through their written comments filed before the Islamabad High Court that they do not intend to take any adverse action against PakTurk International Schools and Colleges across Pakistan.”
Talking to Pakistan Today, Alamgir Khan, chairman PakTurk Education, said that the management of the schools has not been changed because it was already consisted of locals.
To a question, the Chairman said he had neither any information about the arrival of new management nor the government’s intention to take control of the school system.
When he was asked about salaries of the Turk staffers, who was suddenly discharged of their duties sans any prior notice, he responded that they are neither paid any extra salary nor they made any complaint in this regard.
Despites repeated attempts, Muhammad Baligh ur Rehman, minister of state for Education and Professional Training could not be reached to comment on the issue.