KARACHI, May 20: A large number of people, including parents and schoolchildren, have expressed their disappointment and displeasure over the sudden and late announcement of change in the routine summer vacation schedule.
The Sindh government on Friday announced that the two-month summer vacation in schools and colleges would begin on July 1 instead of June 1.
Speaking to Dawn, students and parents said that many of them had already planned their activities for the vacation, outings and ceremonies, including wedding parties in their families, months back.
They said the government decision was unexpected and the new summer vacation schedule only provided them about 20 days for any leisurely activity because Ramazan was likely to begin on July 20 and most people avoided travelling and other activities in the fasting month.
Many people also complained to Dawn about the fact that they had already purchased tickets and booked their seats in flights for domestic and foreign travels keeping in view the regular summer vacation schedule, routinely observed in June and July every year.
However, the late announcement of change in the vacation schedule had seriously disturbed their plans for the summer vacation, they complained.
Some school principals also complained about their problems they would face because of the sudden and late announcement of change in summer vacation.
Minister regrets late announcement
Speaking to Dawn and acknowledging the grievances and problems of students and parents created by the sudden change in the summer vacation schedule, Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq said the inconvenience was for the first time only and in the years to come students would be told well in advance about their vacation and other educational activities.
He also offered his apologies to students and their parents for the “inconvenience” caused by the late announcement of the summer vacation schedule.
“I accept that the Sindh education secretary failed to move the summary regarding a major shift in the summer vacation timing for the chief minister in time, which ultimately raised concerns among children and their parents,” the education minister said while speaking to Dawn on Saturday.
He said that after a lot of discussions and review meetings with private schools, civil society and the education bureaucracy, a unanimous recommendation for the enforcement of summer vacation in July and August instead of June and July was finalised in February and the education secretary could have acted swiftly and accordingly.
“Maybe he was overburdened,” he said.
“Since it was a big decision to delay the commencement of the summer vacation for one month, I was not in a position to implement this decision single-handedly and as such there was a need to send the proposal to the chief minister for his approval and implementation.
“I know the decision to include Ramazan and monsoon days, which are falling mainly in August was not an easy task,” Mr Haq said and added that the education department following some requests from civil society and some relevant researches, including meteorological researches, was convinced that there was a dire need to observe summer vacation in July and August for the next few years because of monsoon.
“Those who live in Karachi and study in private schools should also consider thousands of their fellow students living in the interior of Sindh and taking education in not an ideal condition. Over the past couple of years students and their parents in the interior of Sindh not only lost their precious academic time of August due to the monsoon rains and floods, but also had to live as displaced persons in camps established in schools,” he said.
He said that considering their problems caused by the rains it was decided that summer vacation should be observed during the monsoon season.
He said summer vacation would be observed again in June and July as usual after three years or so.