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Teachers protest for increase in salary, residential plots

By Safiullah Amani-KABUL: Teachers in different parts of the country on Thursday urged the government to increase their salary and give them residential plots, as pledged by the education ministry.

In Kabul City, teachers of the Habibia High School staged a peaceful protest demonstration. Later, in a press conference, they said the National Unity Government (NUG) should resolve problems of the teachers.

They said that salary of the teachers was not enough to make both ends meet. Teachers in the country times and again expressed their concerns over lack of residential plots and low salary. The teachers asked the NUG leaders to fulfill their promises that were made during election campaigns.

A teacher, who wished anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to media, told Afghanistan Times that with such a low salary they were unable to do anything and continue the job.

“Teachers are treated as inferior folk in the society. Neither people nor their relatives respect them. How misguided are the public and how numb is the government? In other parts of the world, teachers are treated fairly and with honor. That’s why these nations have progressed and we are still caught by conflicts, because we have no respect for teachers and books,” he said.

He said that people in the country trust only those who are well-off.

Meanwhile, the White Assembly, a civil rights organization, also expressed solidarity with the protesting teachers. The group said that teachers in the country remained voiceless in the past decade.

Flanked by the protesting teachers, Ramazan Bashardost, a member of the Wolesi Jirga, said that he has forwarded demands of the teachers to the parliament.

He said the government should resolve problems of the teachers on priority basis.

Addressing a press conference here on the same day, Education Minister, Asadullah Hanif Balkhi, said that 324 flats would be distributed among teachers, next week in Stalif district. He said that 500 flats in Deh-e-Sabz district of Kabul province would be distributed in the near future.

He said the ministry of urban development has been requested for 400 residential blocks in the housing schemes. He said that education ministry owns 67 acres of land in Qala e Zama Khan area of Kabul City, but there were some minor problems that should be resolved. The minister assured the teachers that the land would be distributed among them soon, once the problems were addressed.

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