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KARACHI, May 28: The Sindh education department’s idea to observe summer vacation in July and August seemed to have fizzled out on Monday when hundreds of the city’s private schools opted for the June-July summer vacation.

Representatives of schools run by trusts, foundations, business houses, missionary organisations and NGOs approached the directorate of private schools on Monday to submit letters intimating the authorities that they would prefer to observe the two-month summer vacation in June and July as usual in lieu of the July-August vacation.

Meanwhile, government school students and teachers also criticised the education officialdom. They said that the “so-called relief aimed changes in the schedule is nothing but to widen the gap between the students and faculty of the government and private schools.”

Talking to Dawn at the directorate of private schools, representatives of schools said the belated notification by the education department about the July-August summer vacation had disappointed them. “We have told the government that its decision had caused concerns among the students, parents and teachers and it has become impossible to enforce the summer vacation schedule as determined by the Sindh education department.”

In their letters, many of the private schools stated that due to the late announcement about summer vacation, there was confusion among the teachers and students and parents about it.

“Above all it is a fact that June is very hot and in such extreme conditions with the calamity of loadshedding it’s too difficult to run schools properly,” one of the schools wrote in its letter.

Almost all the private schools, either run under the Cambridge system or the matric/AKUEB system mentioned in their option letters that their students and teachers had already planned their outstation journeys and bought their tickets as well and it would not be viable to enforce the July-August summer vacation schedule at least this year.

A source at the private school directorate said that the applications for June-July summer vacation had been received on behalf of more than 400 private schools of all cadre and standards and from different localities of the city. “Schools which would enforce summer vacation from June 1 to July 31, without prior information to the education department, would have to face action,” the source added.

Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq told Dawn that he had been told by the education secretary that he had submitted a summary to the chief minister about changes in his earlier orders. “I have been told that while the summary is yet to be approved, the chief minister has verbally directed the Sindh education secretary to facilitate 28-30 schools run under the Cambridge system, which had made a joint representation to the education department,” the minister added.

However, talking to Dawn on May 23, Sindh Education Secretary Siddiq Memon had said that the problem of enforcing the new schedule of vacation in Karachi was not confined to just 20-30 or some so-called big or elite schools and the education department had in principle decided to receive applications from all educational institutions willing to observe summer vacation in June and July this year.

The chairman of heads and teachers welfare association alliance, Abdul Rehman Khan, opposed the discrimination between the private and government school students and teachers.

He said the observance of summer vacation in August would deprive tens of thousands of schoolchildren of preparing programmes and celebrating the Independence Day with zeal.

He further said that the teachers had already pointed out to the education board and the school directorate that many of the second-shift schools would be deprived of teaching by senior teachers as they would be engaged in matric examination assessment work in the afternoon during the whole month of June.