PESHAWAR - Parents of the students of Pak-Turk International Schools and Colleges on Tuesday criticised government’s plan to handover the education system to a Turkish non-profit organisation and warned of protest against the proposed move.

The parents, while speaking at a news conference at Peshawar Press Club, said the plan of handing over the system to a Turkish non-governmental organization (NGO), Maarif Foundation, was aimed at gaining political advantages.

A group of parents along with teachers led by Owais Bilal, Dr Zubair, Siddiq Shinwari, Allauddin and Sher Muhammad, said the future of their children was put at stake to please a foreign political leader. They said the schools and colleges would suffer if handed-over to the poorly-equipped and infamous Maarif Foundation.

“Our sympathies and good wishes are in the best interest of Turkey. But we are also extremely disturbed with the attempt by certain segments to impute political and even terrorist linkages with Pak-Turk Schools that are tantamount to stigmatising and jeopardising students and their parents”, they maintained.

They said they would be compelled to take their children out of the said schools if government went ahead with the plan. They also threatened to protest along with students against the government. ‘Those taking over do not understand the education systems in Pakistan, they said, adding Maarif Foundation was an infamous entity that would destroy the future of their children.

Bilal on the occasion told media persons 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. For parents the choice of school for their kids is indeed the most difficult phase, one has to consider so many things before sending their children to certain environment, Bilal added.

“Now after 20 years of the Pak-Turk Foundation in the country, we are all proud that we sent our kids to their schools because of quality of education. But today the future of more than 12,000 students enrolled in the Pak-Turk Schools is at stake, said the parents.

Dr Zubair said it was unacceptable that a complete chain of high-performing schools would be destroyed at the behest of a foreign political leader, he added.

The parents asked the Counter Terrorism Department (CTD) Punjab to stop pressurising Chairman Pak-Turk Schools and Colleges for resignation to pave a way for handing over the chain to Maarif Foundation.