ISLAMABAD: The Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (Peira) has directed the closure of primary sections of private schools due to the ongoing heatwave.

Following directives from the federal government, “We have directed private schools to close primary sections (1 to 5) till further orders due to the heatwave,” said Zafar Yousafzai, a spokesperson for the regulatory authority.

He said private schools were allowed to conduct classes from class six to onward under a standard operating procedure (SOP) devised to keep students safe from the heatwave.

A notification issued by Peira stated: “There shall be no classes from Pre-Primary to Grade-5 with immediate effect. Furthermore, private educational institutions shall observe the revised timing of 8am to 11am for remaining classes (Grade 6 and above) till the summer break (a schedule to be announced shortly) and the centralised in-house examination.”

Decision taken in view of prevailing heatwave; FDE says junior classes already not being held due to annual exams

Peira also issued an advisory for schools directing them to advise the students to avoid unnecessary exposure to the sun, wear caps or cover their heads while moving outside and use an umbrella while walking to and from schools. All electrical items, including fans and exhaust of classrooms, should be functional.

The authority further directed the schools to ensure availability of water, adding a break for water should be given to students frequently. The schools are also directed to park buses under shade and first aid box should be available in all schools.

Meanwhile, the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) on Monday night also issued a notification reducing the school timings from 8am to 11am.

A spokesperson for the FDE, Director Abdul Waheed, said there were already no primary classes as annual exams were underway. He, however, said that schools had been directed that there will be no zero period or remedial class for the primary section. The official said that ongoing exam will continue under the SOP with reduced timing from 8am to 11am.

Meanwhile, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Rana Tanveer Hussain chaired an inter-provincial education ministers’ conference (IPEMC) on Tuesday.

According to the education ministry, the meeting was attended by provincial ministers/secretaries, executive director of Higher Education Commission (HEC), the secretary Inter-Board Committee of Chairmen (IBCC), the FDE head and the chairperson of Peira.

The federal minister said that the conference was urgently called to ensure implementation of the directive of the prime minister issued at an earlier meeting held to discuss measures against the heatwave. He said that it was imperative to implement the short-term and long-term measures to mitigate health-related risks of heatwave for school-going children.

Mr Hussain said proactive measures had to be taken to safeguard and protect students, especially young students. He said the the federal government had taken preventative steps to protect the students against the heatwave.

It has been decided to close all private and public schools/classes in the federal capital from KG to 5th class in order to protect the children from the ongoing impact of the heatwave. He said the timings of the ongoing exams had been rescheduled to 8am to 11am.

The minister said special instructions had been issued to the Federal Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (FBISE) to ensure that alternative arrangements were made for electricity supply in all the exam centres.

The minister said water availability should also be ensured at all exam centres.

An awareness campaign via social media and newspapers regarding the heatwave has already been launched, he added.

Published in Dawn, May 18th, 2022

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