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Many private schools oppose new vacation schedule

May 22, 2012

KARACHI, May 22: Amid reports that a new schedule for summer vacation for the city’s government and private schools is unlikely to be implemented evenhandedly, a group of private schools has expressed the opinion that the arbitrary action taken by the education officialdom has made summer vacation an issue of contention.

Educational circles said that a number of private schools had informed the Sindh education minister that the belated change in summer vacation from June-July to July-August, 2012, had made it difficult for them to implement accordingly and as such they be allowed to observe the vacation in relaxation to the Sindh Education Department’s requirements at least for this year.

It was also learnt that a group of 28 private schools being coordinated by former CPLC chief Jameel Yousuf had in a joint letter attached some quoted reasons for not implementing the new vacation schedule compulsorily this year, which if needed could be enforced in 2013 and onwards after further deliberation and due communication before December 2012.

The group referred to the decisions of the Sindh Education Department’s steering committee which was held on February 8 and a relevant notification issued on March 28 as well. In regard to the schedule of vacation and holidays for the year 2012, it was said in serial no 4 (i) of the notification that “summer vacation will be observed from June 1 to July 31, 2012.

The 4 (ii), however, said that the government’s education secretary will arrange a meeting with private school associations regarding summer holidays during July-August due to commencement of the holy month of Ramazan in August. If agreed/decided, the department will move a summary to the Chief Minister, Sindh, for approval.

It was unanimously resolved in a meeting of the education department held on May 4 and involving the group schools in question and two other private school associations to continue with summer vacation in June-July, 2012, and that the school calendar cannot be changed at this late stage.

The group has noted that “the belated arbitrary announcement of May 18, 2012, to schedule summer vacation in July and August, 2012, is shocking and surprising as its implementation would create further chaos for the entire month of June and cannot be endorsed as such.”

It was further pointed out to the education minister in the joint letter that the schools term of Cambridge/AKUEB had just concluded and vacation had commenced for students, many of whom had already left the city for spending their holidays elsewhere. The newly-admitted students are to join with effect from August 1, 2012.

A source in the education circle said if the minutes of the steering committee were read thoroughly, the act of the education secretary to the chief minister was uncalled for. In the meantime, a source in the education department said that the higher authorities had asked the officer concerned of the department to ask all the educational institutions unwilling to observe summer vacation in July and August to submit their problem-specific cases in writing and separately to the education department. Any decision for allowing a school to observe vacation as per the old schedule (June-July) will be decided only on a case-to-case basis, the source added.