Private schools refuse to observe summer vacations from May 17


–React strongly against Rana Mashhood’s ‘abrupt’ announcement of summer vacations

–Say exams are underway in most of the schools

–Homework pack for summer vacations yet to be printed

LAHORE: The private schools’ associations have reacted strongly against the ‘abrupt’ announcement of Punjab Minister for School Education Department (SED) Rana Mashhood Khan regarding the summer vacations in all the public and private schools of the province, announcing a refusal to obey orders.

On Thursday, the minister announced in a press conference at Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board office that summer vacations in public and private schools would start from May 17. Mashhood cited the reason of summer vacations as the holy month of fasting is also going to be started and probably the first day of Ramzan would be May 17 — the first day of vacations.

The announcement has been defied by the private schools as they said that they have not been taken on board by the minister. Talking to Pakistan Today, the president of All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) Kashif Mirza said that earlier we had a detailed meeting with the secretary of SED Dr Allah Bakhsh in which all the stakeholders were also present.

“We were assured that the summer vacations would be announced with our consent but I don’t know what prompted Rana Mashhood to announce vacations in an abrupt way during a press conference,” he commented.

The private schools’ spokesperson made it clear that they “cannot close schools from May 17 for vacations because exams of students are underway in most of the schools and the whole procedure of conducting exams can take 15 to 18 days.”

It is worth mentioning that APPSF represents over 2 lacs private schools having more than 20 million students. “We’ll start vacations from June 8 as per our agreement with the SED secretary and we will not follow the announcement of Rana Mashhood who is one of the most anti-education ministers in the history of this province,” Mirza said.

Moreover, the president of All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association Kashif Adeeb Jawadani, who heads another faction of the private schools, told this scribe that Mashhood ignored all the stakeholders and announced the vacations on his own despite the fact that earlier they had a meeting with the minister in which it had also been decided that the duration of summer vacations would be shortened for the better interest of the students.

“So far, most of the private schools didn’t get the homework pack of students from the publisher as we thought that vacations would be announced after June 1,” Jawadani said, while adding that it would take over a week for private schools to do all such arrangements including homework pack and conducting the exams.

He further added that he has apprised the minister regarding the concerns of private schools who share the burden of the government in providing the quality education to millions of students in the province.

Punjab government had been announcing the summer vacations from June 1 for the last two years by making arrangements with the private schools. However, this time, the government announced the summer vacations from May 17 to August 10. Rana Mashhood also asked the private schools to complete the examination process as earliest otherwise strict action would be taken against them by the department. The minister also warned the private schools not to collect the fee for whole three months at once as they can only collect the fee for one month as per the rules set for the private schools.