FDE reopens schools for 4 days


Parents and their children on Friday expressed their dismay over the non-issuance of a notification by the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) to extend summer vacations until Eidul Fitr. FDE instead issued a directive under which schools would reopen per schedule on August 11, but summer vacations would recommence from August 15 and continue until September 4. Pakistan Today learnt that FDE had taken this strange decision in order to ensure students’ participation in the national day celebrations on August 14.
Parents and teachers have been shocked over this whimsical decision of opening schools for only four days and then re-closing them until September 4. Earlier it had reportedly been conveyed to principals of educational institutions that summer vacations would continue until Eid. FDEs non issuance of this directive has left confused parents and teachers trying in vain to rationalise the logic behind reopening schools for only four days. Students, parents and teachers have all become greatly inconvenienced by FDEs decision. A teacher working at a government college in Islamabad told Pakistan Today, “I belong to Nawabshah and go there to spend my holidays. The other day I got a call from a colleague asking me to return to Islamabad as the college had reopened. I was very surprised as I had been confident that FDE would extend the vacations until after Eid. I was even more shocked when I learned that I had to return for only four days.”
A college student from Islamabad, Oheed Ahmed, said FDE should have issued an official announcement stating that there would not be no extension in the summer holidays instead of saying that the proposal was under consideration and then deciding, at the eleventh hour, to reopen schools for only a few days. “The authorities concerned should have taken a decision in time. This sudden and absurd decision seems to serve merely to waste peoples’ time and money,” said Ahmed.
Talking to Pakistan Today, an FDE official said there was no doubt that inviting students back for only four days was nothing but a waste of their money and time. “The FDE will hold a string of cultural programmes to mark the 64th Independence Day of Pakistan, and thus wanted to ensure maximum participation of children in the activities, which are to be held at the Jinnah Convention Centre, and in which Prime Minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani is to be the chief guest,” said the official.
The official further mentioned that FDE might issue a notification on the extension of holidays which would be inclusive of the four days in between, but the same has to be “kept secret” until the last moment so that the participation of children in the Independence Day celebrations would not be reduced.
Parents told Pakistan Today that they thought FDE was being extremely unjust and “selfish” in requiring that students return to Islamabad from their vacations only to ensure attendance in the national day celebrations. “This directive of the FDE is utterly ridiculous and defies all sense,” said a parent.
Teachers of various schools blamed FDE Director General (DG) Atif Mahmood Kiyani for misleading them. “I don’t know why FDE took so long to decide, they should have decided earlier and intimated the decision to teachers and students well in advance,” said a teacher.
Capital Administration Development Division (CADD) Joint Secretary and Spokesman Rafiq Tahir said that it had been decided very early that all schools would reopen per schedule on August 11. “The slight change was made because of the Independence Day celebrations,” he said.
When contacted, the FDE DG confirmed that summer vacations had not been extended to merge with Eid holidays, and that all federal government schools were to open on August 11. However, the Federal Government Teachers Association (FGTA) said schools would open only for the Independence Day celebrations until August 14. The three days until August 14 would be utilised in preparations for the big day. FGTA President Azhar Awan maintained that there was no official notification on the recommencement of summer holidays after August 14, but the message from the CADD was clear that this was to be the case. “It will, however, be impossible to organise national day activities as most of the teachers and students have gone away to places as far as Quetta and would not be able to return for these four days,” added Awan.