Move to keep schools, colleges open six days a week
KARACHI, June 21: Sindh Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah on Thursday approved a summary sent to him by the education department a couple of days ago to keep schools and colleges open for six days a week instead of five, sources said.
The earlier decision to curtail the number of work days at schools and colleges had been notified on May 3 in the wake of the Lahore conference held in April with an aim to save energy during summer.
The sources said that a formal notification on the matter was expected to be issued by the services and general education department on Friday.
The educationists, whom Dawn spoke to, had mixed feelings about the move.
Vice chancellor of Sindh Madressatul Islam University (SMIU) Dr Mohammad Ali Shaikh welcomed the step. There are two schools, one for girls and the other for boys, functioning under the umbrella of the SMIU.
The vice chancellor said: “We have never been in favour of two holidays a week. We kept our schools open even after the issuance of the notification regarding the two holidays, because it was not suitable for government schools in any way.
“And as it is the children get to miss so much when the schools have to be shut down every now and then during strikes or some other problems. They should not have introduced the two weekly holidays in the first place, but now if the Sindh government has realised its mistake and reversed the decision, I appreciate it very much,” he said.
Sabina Khatri, the director and principal of Kiran School in Lyari, said that she was completely against holidays. “My school is in Lyari, where we have to keep a 15-day provision for holidays due to the usual gang warfare and clean-up operations,” she said.
“We in our school never followed the two-weekly-holiday rule, which was also appreciated by the parents as they wanted their children to remain involved in academic activities rather than wasting their time doing something else. We don’t even observe vacation and only allow off time during Ramazan, but even there we call the children once in three days for one hour not to let them forget their lessons. Good of the Sindh government to take back the decision of curtailing school days to five, I say,” she said.
Ajmal Noorani, a senior coordinator and head of the English department who has had the experience of working with several private schools wondered what good taking away the Saturday school holiday would do for the children. “Most private schools already had a two-day weekend so this move by the Sindh education department would make no difference to the children or teachers of elitist schools,” she said.
As far as how it would affect government schools, she said: “Well, if they [the authorities] think that this additional day can help the children catch up with their studies, they should visit the schools once in a while to see if there are any studies going on there in the first place.”