LAHORE: Students especially of public schools are braving extremely hot weather while summer vacation are scheduled to start from June 1.

Parents have demanded that the Punjab government announce some holidays to save children from scorching heat in view of the soaring mercury.

They take the plea that if the government can close schools in the province for a week or so in the name of security it may also announce holidays ahead of its schedule (June 1).

Reports say some children have fainted in public and private schools in Lahore and elsewhere in the province.

“It is very difficult for students to cope with the extreme weather. Loadshedding is compounding the problem as neither teachers are able to concentrate on teaching nor students can pay attention to studies,” a principal of a public school in Township told Dawn.

He says students especially of primary classes are facing the brunt of heatwave. “We have been receiving more sick applications from students during the last couple of days than throughout the last one month. And this is because of the harsh weather.”

Some seek pre-vacation break due to heatwave

The principal says since no annual examinations of any grade in the public sector schools are under way, it is up to the government to reschedule summer vacation.

A senior teacher at a school in Samanabad told this reporter that she was feeling sympathy for children.

A couple of children have fainted. We have disallowed children from playing in the school ground to save them from sun exposure,” she said.

The implementation of academic calendar by the Punjab government regarding summer vacation should be revised in accordance with the changing weather pattern, says Kamran Khalid, a father of grade-II student.

“It is high time that the government revised its academic calendar to provide relief to students,” he says.

Another worried mother, Sumaira Raza, says she has stopped sending her 11-year-old son to school who is studying in grade-V at a private school in Faisal Town, after he fainted on Tuesday while playing in the ground.

“I cannot risk exposing my son to the blazing sun in the school,” she said, and urged the government to at least announce holidays for a few days after consultations with the Met department.

A senior official of the education department told Dawn that the heatwave the country especially Lahore was experiencing in May was unprecedented. “During the last five or six years Lahore never witnessed severe heatwave in May. So we never thought of rescheduling the summer holidays. Now this issue will be debated in the education department,” the official said.

A journalist said he had conveyed the parents concerns to Punjab Education Minister Rana Mashhood. The minister promised to look into the matter. Mashhood was not available for comments when this reporter contacted him.

All Pakistan Private Schools Federation President Kashif Mirza said the government could announce early summer vacation in the wake of heatwave.

“The public schools lack facilities and it is very difficult for the children there to brave this weather,” he said, adding the academic calender of private schools was different from the public schools. “We observe summer vacation from June 10 to Aug 10. At present exams are under way in most private schools,” he said.

Published in Dawn, May 19th, 2016