THE government declared holiday on May 28 to commemorate Youm-i-Takbeer. I am proud of my country being a nuclear power, but people of the country have been facing chronic poverty, inflation, malnutrition, stunted growth and decay of institutions for a long time. Should we not be working harder?

Recently, the government declared education emergency in the country because millions of our children of school-going age happen to be out of school. What is the point of an ‘emergency’ if the schools are to be closed just like that? Education standards are on the decline, and unnecessary, unscheduled holidays affect the academic process seriously.

As such, across the 365 days in a year, summer and winter vacations account for 75 days. A two-day weekend accounts for 104 days. Then come the gazetted holidays, like, say, Eids etc. And we have still not counted the unscheduled holidays owing to a variety of reasons ranging from political rallies to weather emergencies. All found, the schools remain closed on a minimum of 200 days in a year, leaving the academic calendar to make do with 165 days. The question now is: is there any space for additional holidays? Absolutely not.

Other than the academics, estimates suggest that a one-day holiday has a negative impact worth Rs70 billion on the country’s already shattered economy. Again, is there any space for additional holidays? Absolutely not.

We should be proud of our country’s achievements, but must do things today that will make the future generations prouder. It is really as simple as that.

Aijaz Ali Khuwaja
Karachi

Published in Dawn, June 22nd, 2024

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