Studies affected by dengue prevention measures


Studies in educational institutes of the city are being ignored due to an extraordinary focus on dengue preventive measures, as heads of most government institutes are busy in conducting seminars, fumigation and other dengue related activities.
Educational heads said that the Punjab Higher Education Department (HED) had forced them to conduct seminars. Students also expressed fear that a fifteen day cleanliness campaign, as announced by the Lahore executive district officer (EDO), might further damage their studies, as various schools had employed students for labour work. Teachers of public colleges claimed that college seminars were a part of political motives, as dengue could not be prevented or cured through lectures by MPAs and MNAs.
Punjab Teachers Union leader Sajjad Kazmi said the government was over stressing on dengue preventive measures in colleges of the city. He said colleges that lacked funds had to conduct seminars, which had not only halted the academic process but had also put an extra financial burden on the limited resources of colleges. Kazmi said that around Rs 50,000 was being spent on a single seminar, adding that institutes were also required to take care of the protocol of respective MPAs or MNAs arriving at their places. He said that these seminars were politically motivated.
Thousands of students, still waiting for Intermediate results, have been left on the mercy of the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE). Affected students blamed the government saying that action had not been taken against any board official due to ignorance by the government machinery, obsessed with dengue measures.
Citizens have praised research initiatives by various varsities but also feel that overemphasis to gain maximum press coverage through photo sessions and press releases could further damage their image. Another teacher Sameed said routine academics had been damaged, earlier by holidays and now by seminars. He said that an extra responsibility on teachers would not help them teach students in an efficient manner.
A university student Zohaib said that heads of educational institutes believed that the best way to satisfy the Punjab government, especially the chief minister, was to take measures against dengue and by creating awareness with the help of papers. Most press releases issued by educational institutes especially by public colleges are about fumigation and seminars conducted in their institutes.
The Punjab University had initially constituted a Dengue Research Group, which had been widely appreciated and then the LCWU had also formed a Dengue Prevention and Management Committee (DPMC) to conduct research on the prevention of dengue virus, whereas Government College University students were already busy in research activities especially regarding the biological control methods of dengue. Educational experts think that research was the best answer to epidemic by academicians and students. They also thought that an overwhelming response from top varsities to conduct research on dengue was appreciable. Higher Education Punjab Secretary Haseeb Athar was not available for comment despite several attempts.