ISLAMABAD, Aug 10: Hassled by teachers and parents alike; officials in the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) are likely to go into a huddle on Wednesday to decide on extending summer holidays until September.
But the pertinent question is why government schools could not do what private schools did – delay in starting the summer vacations by 20 to 25 days to merge the two-and-a-half-month break with Eid holidays?
Director-General FDE Atif Mehmood Kayani said extension would upset the schedule. “Children will suffer at the end. There was already plenty of catching up to do. Textbooks were delayed by nearly two months in the start of the session in April and children did not have books until the end of May,” the official said.
Mr Kayani, who is also the chairperson of the Private Education Regulatory Authority (Pera), said it had very limited role.
“Private schools have a different routine/schedule. They follow a separate semester system according to their O’Levels and A’Levels programmes compared to government schools. The authority could not control their fee structures or private affairs,” he added.
According to another senior FDE official, the federal government teachers were exploiting the situation because a bad trend had been set last year when summer vacations were extended to merge with the Eid holidays.
“A bad trend was set last year and we do not want to encourage it. It’s important that children do not miss out on the course and are not burdened with excessive studying,” the official said. However, the Federal Government Teachers Association
continued to press for extension of summer holidays.
President FGTA Azhar Mehmood Awan pleaded that summer vacations were essential in the severe heatwave, power breakdowns and shortage of fuel. He also lamented the inconvenience to students and teachers who would suffer if ‘appropriate’ decision was not taken. He said the last days of Ramazan demanded restful life.
However, most private schools across Islamabad and Rawalpindi would open between September 5 and 6.
“We usually get off at the end of May or June 1. This year it was different because there was no point in closing schools after a week or two again,” said a teacher of a private school, explaining how children and staff were made to come to classes until June 24.
In some schools, however, senior sections were opening between August 9 and August 11.Dawn.