ISLAMABAD: The city’s private schools and most public sector universities will be closed today (Thursday) due to the “uncertain and unpredictable” situation arising from the Azadi March. However, in Rawalpindi, all educational institutions will stay closed.
However, the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has announced that its 423 schools and colleges will remain open.
In a notification, the Private School Association announced: “Schools will remain closed (urban area) on Thursday.” Most upscale private schools are located in H-8, which along with H-9 is the designated sector for education and other institutions.
The government’s decision to allow the Azadi March to culminate in H-9 has led to concern among school operators in both sectors as well as parents. The city’s roads have been partially sealed and, if the situation were to deteriorate in the event it would become difficult for parents and students to reach their schools.
The association’s information secretary, Abdul Waheed, said all upscale private schools, including Beaconhouse, Headstart, Roots, Lahore Grammar School, Pak-Turk, Froebel’s, City School and Smart School are members of the association and have unanimously decided to keep their institutions closed on Thursday.
The Convent School and Overseas Pakistanis Foundation girls’ and boys’ colleges will also be closed.
He said the decision was made because of the unpredictable situation in light of the Azadi March.
“We cannot take the risk, as students’ protection is our main priority. Our schools are also located in H-8 and H-9, so we have decided to close the schools on Thursday and the next decision will be taken up later,” he said.
FDE Director General Syed Umair Javed said all government schools will stay open.
“All FDE schools will operate normally. We have been advised by the ICT administration that the routes will remain open,” he said.
An association of private schools in the rural areas have decided to stay open.
Quaid-i-Azam University, National University of Modern Languages (Numl), Air University, Bahria University, Comsats University and the National University of Science and Technology will also be closed on Thursday and Friday.
Numl will be closed for nearly a week because of a break ahead of examinations, while the Allama Iqbal Open University has rescheduled an exam which was to be held on Thursday.
In addition, Rawalpindi district administration has announced a local holiday and asked all educational institutions to stay closed on Thursday to avoid inconveniencing people during the Azadi March.
Metro bus service suspended
Deputy Commissioner Saifullah Dogar told Dawn that Thursday will be a holiday within the revenue jurisdiction of Rawalpindi, including the city, rural and cantonment areas.
He said that the district administration, Civil Defence, Rescue 1122 and hospitals will be open.
The Punjab Masstransit Authority (PMA) has also decided to suspend the metro bus service between Rawalpindi and Islamabad on Thursday. The service has been suspended on the recommendation of the Ministry of Interior.
A senior PMA official said the metro bus will be suspended for a day but will resume operations on Friday after looking at the situation. He said these measures were taken for security reasons.
Cantonment Traders Association General Secretary Zafar Qadri said cantonment markets will open because the local holiday is not for markets.
The Punjab government has also cancelled the vacations of doctors and paramedical staff in the city’s three government-run hospitals.
Benazir Bhutto Hospital, Holy Family Hospital and the District Headquarters Hospital will remain open as normal.
Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2019
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