Kurdistan Human Rights Network (KHRN): Teachers have staged sit-ins at schools across Kurdistan on March 3, 4 and 5 following the protests of the teachers and call of Coordinating Council of Teachers Syndicates in Iran (CCTSI).

In a conversation with KHRN, one of the teachers participating in this sit-in has reported massive participation of teachers in various cities of Kurdistan and said that the sit-ins in the cities of Kurdistan Province including Marivan, Saqqez and Sanandaj were very impressive.

“So far there has been no news of summoning the members of CCTSI to the security agencies. However, The Education & Training Department have been striving to creat disagreements between the teachers and the schools’ administrative personnel by holding meetings with the schools’ headteachers. The security institutions are trying to prevent other teachers from joining the sit-in by threatening and intimidating them through claiming that they are defending students’ rights. Teachers have decided to hold additional classes for the students to catch up.” he added.

Two rounds of sit-ins were held by the teachers late October and November last year. However, their demands were not addressed by the authorities. Such lack of attention led to the third round of sit-ins held throughout the country. According to CCTSI, participation of the teachers in the third round of the sit-ins has been considerably more than the past two sit-ins, during which more than 1,000 educational institutions have been closed. Similar to the two previous rounds, teachers refused to go to classrooms despite being present at the schools.

The teachers’ sit-ins were launched to protest against unfair wages, removal of all legal hurdles for the creation of independent trade unions, low salaries and jailing teachers’ rights activists. The third round of sit-ins were organized due to refusal of authorities to pay attention to these demands and the unsuccessful attempts of CCTSI to resolve the problems of teachers through mediation with Department of Education & Training, some of the parliament’s representatives and the security agencies in Tehran.