PESHAWAR: The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa elementary and secondary education department has reduced school hours in the province’s summer zone due to a heat wave.

The change in timings will be applicable to both government and private schools, according to a notification from the department.

It said primary schools would operate from 7am to 11am (previously 7:30am-1pm) and middle, high, and higher secondary schools from 7am to 12pm (previously 7:30am-1:20pm).

The education department has already announced summer vacation for primary schools in the summer zone from June 1 and for middle, high, and higher secondary schools from June 15.

The schools will remain closed until August 31.

Teachers complain students hit by excessive power cuts

However, schools in the winter zone will have a summer break for one month (from July 1 to July 31).

Meanwhile, schoolteachers have complained about prolonged power cuts, which, they said, are badly affecting student learning amid rising temperatures.

They told Dawn that the current heatwave had led to the suspension of electric supply for long hours.

“In a classroom crammed with 80 students without fans for hours, we struggle to teach them,” a government school’s teacher said.

The teacher said students profusely sweated in classrooms while trying to cool themselves off with the help of their notebooks.

He said it was often too suffocating to enter the classroom.

The teacher said most government schools had around 80 students in a classroom.

Schools Officers Association president Samiullah Khalil told Dawn that the government should either announce loadshedding exemption for the areas with schools or install solar panels in educational institutions to ensure uninterrupted power supply to the relief of both students and staff members.

He said if the demand couldn’t be met, then the government should immediately declare summer holidays for schools in the summer zone.

“Prolonged power cuts have forced teachers in many schools to take classes under trees just because it is really hot in classrooms,” he said.

Mr Khalil said things were even worse in Peshawar’s rural areas and southern districts.

He claimed that one or two schoolchildren fainted every day due to the extreme heat, while many schools had a shortage of drinking water due to the excessive power cuts.

The association president complained that students had been made to sit intermediate examinations across the province in hot weather.

He said education boards should ensure a smooth power supply in examination halls.

Mr Khalil also complained that schools hadn’t received government funds for repairs and renovations in the last three years.

A resident, whose child is enrolled in a leading private school in the provincial capital, told Dawn that his son complained about extreme heat in the classroom due to the prolonged power cuts.

“My child comes home excessively sweating, to our worry,” he said.

A senior official of the elementary and secondary education department told Dawn that the government had announced a summer break from June 1 for primary schools and from June 15 for middle, high, and higher secondary schools.

He said high-ups of the department would take up the issues facing students due to power outages and a heat wave with the education minister.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2024

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