Uneven enforcement of summer vacation schedule feared
KARACHI, May 21: According to educational circles, the managements of private schools on Monday said they feared an uneven implementation of the Sindh government’s order about this year’s summer vacation in the city.
The Sindh education department on Monday released a formal notification to the media about summer vacation in line with its summary approved by the Sindh chief minister last Friday. The summary sought a departure from previous practices of observing summer vacation in June and July.
The notification said: “With the approval of the competent authority [Chief Minister, Sindh] it is notified that the summer vacation 2012 for all public and private educational institutions of Sindh shall be observed from July 1 to August 31, 2012.”
A source in the education department said some of the private school managements had been requesting or approaching high-ups in the government for summer vacation from June 1 to July 31 and it was likely that they would either be allowed to observe the vacation in relaxation to the official order or the whole schedule will be reviewed again.
According to the Karachi Grammar School website, its new academic session would begin in August. A group of “big schools” conducting O’ and A’ Level classes at a meeting on Monday resolved to observe summer vacation in June and July and not in July and August, said media reports.
Representatives of the schools run under the Cambridge system of education or by the big chains had clearly told the education secretary at a meeting about three weeks back that they would not close their schools in August, said another source.
Last year, too, a good number of schools had pleaded that “the very late decision taken at the Sindh education department level had left no choice for them other than to defy the government’s decision, if any made, to observe vacations in July and August,” the source said, adding that Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq, too, had admitted in a press statement that the education department had once again acted late this year.
“This year, too, the authorities had failed to act well in advance on the issue of summer vacation,” said a private school management leader on the condition of anonymity. It is a failure of the relevant bureaucracy that they ordered the change only 10 days before the commencement of the traditional summer vacation, i.e., June and July.When contacted, the director of private schools, Dr Mansoob Siddiqui, said he had received the education department’s notification on Monday only, and he would ensure a strict implementation of the order without any discrimination. “A couple of private school managements also contacted me today and I have told them that there was no option but to follow the government’s order,” he said, adding that still there was time for his directorate to try and motivate them for the implementation of summer vacation in July and August.
Syed Khalid Shah Shah, chairman of the All Private School Management Association, Sindh, said the observance of the new summer vacation schedule should not be a problem for the schools run under the Matric system. “We start our academic session in April and the Cambridge schools’ session begins in August,” he said, adding that chances of a split in school managements on the issue of vacation could not be ruled out.
Replying to a question, however, he said private schools following his association had already collected fees for June and July and now they would appeal to the parents to deposit the fees for August in advance during the month of June, otherwise it would become rather difficult for them to pay the teachers’ salaries, building rents and other expenditures.