Are your children going to school today?


School going children and their parents have been left in a fix, as private schools have split over whether to go on summer vacations from today or not. Some, in compliance with Sindh Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah’s orders, are likely to announce summer vacations on May 27 (today), while others have decided to continue academic activities in the hot and humid month of June.
This confusion in the summer vacations schedule is borne of a conflict between the CM and Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq. The Sindh Education Department Steering Committee, in its meeting attended by Sindh Education Minister Pir Mazharul Haq, Education Secretary Waseem Ursani, Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) Chairman Anwar Ahmed Zai, Sindh Colleges Director-General Prof Nasir Ansar, director of the Private Education Institutions Sindh, and the Education executive district officers (EDO) of all 23 provinces, had decided to change the summer vacation schedule from June-July to July-August.
The purpose of change in summer vacation schedule was to avoid extra off-days in the shape of religious and national holidays during August. Another rationale for change in summer vacation schedule was increased heat due to global warming. A summary had been sent to Sindh Chief Minister (CM) Qaim Ali Shah for formal approval. The CM, though, rejected the summary and ordered that summer vacations proceed from June as per routine.
This sparked unrest among the administration of various private education institutions; although private schools jointly welcomed the recommendations of the steering committee, they broke ranks after the rejection of summary.
As a result, some private institutes have decided to observe summer vacations with public sector educational institutes while others have decided to continue academic activities in June; PEAK Private Schools Management Association Sindh (PEAKPSMA) and United Private School Management Front (UPSMF) announced continuing academic activities in June.
PEAKPSMA Chairman Jawad Haider Naqvi told Pakistan Today that his association upheld the steering committee’s recommendations, and would continue academic activities in June. UPSMF Chairman Engineer Syed Ali Haider also announced to continue educational activities in member private schools in the month of June. He said the summer vacations in member schools will start from July and end on August 31. He demanded of the CM to review his decision.
On the other hand, the Private School Management Association (PSMA) and All Private Education Institutions Sindh (APEIS) will observe summer vacation from June – although the decision to do so is not as agreeable to all. APEIS Chairman Khalid Shah told Pakistan Today that the steering committee recommended the change in schedule in consultation with all stakeholders, but the CM rejected the summary without consultation.
Alleging that the CM rejected the summary to appease some “blue-eyed individuals,” Shah claimed that member private schools would comply with his orders and that summer vacations will be observed from June. “Many schools announce vacations on May 27 (today),” he said. PSMA Chairman Sharfuzzaman has also announced summer vacations in member private schools in June. He said many private schools would announce summer vacation from May 27 (today).
He criticised decision of PEAKPSMA and UPSMF, and said the students and parents would suffer badly due to decision to continue the educational activities in some of the private schools during month of June. “If, PEAKPSMA and UPSMF have any issue with the CM’s orders, then they should have raised their concerns the next day the decision was announced. But they have decided to continue academic activities just a few days before the start of June,” he added.