Haroon ur Rasheed
In the province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP), primary-level schools have been granted summer vacations, but the management of private schools is expressing apprehension about the consequences of a three-month break without proper planning. They believe that such extended vacations will not only disrupt children’s education but also make it impossible to cover the entire syllabus within the academic year.
Anas Takreem Kakakhel, the General Secretary of the Private Education Network in KP, highlights the lack of consideration for climate change by the Education Department.
According to him, the department declares holidays based on the British Education Code of 1930 without taking into account the upcoming weather conditions. Numerous discussions have been held on this issue, but the government’s disapproval has prevented any serious consideration. As a result, a writ has been filed in the High Court, and its decision is pending.
The KP Education Department recently announced summer vacations through a notification, stating that primary schools in hot areas of KP will remain closed from June 1 to August 31. Middle and high schools in these regions will have vacations from June 15 to August 31. Additionally, winter areas will observe holidays from July 1 to July 31.
Anas Takreem stresses that children have the right to receive education for 240 days according to the working day syllabus. However, for the past 75 years, this right has been compromised under the pretext of summer and winter vacations. Students are left with only 180 days for study each year, while school curricula are designed based on completing daily and weekly syllabi within the prescribed seven-hour school time.
Educationist Fazlullah Daudzai proposes a policy for summer vacations, suggesting that since private schools are legally entitled to collect vacation fees, they should be allowed to open for a short duration during the day while maintaining the same fee structure. This would provide a solution to the issue. He also recommends the solarization of schools as a measure to mitigate the effects of hot weather.
Daudzai emphasizes the need for regular contact with the meteorological department to determine the timing of summer vacations, ensuring they are announced during heatwaves.
The government is urged to permit all schools to open for a short period in June, considering the heat, while granting holidays from July 1 to August 10, followed by a short-term opening from August 11 to August 31.
It is important to note that KP has over 33,000 government schools catering to both boys and girls, accommodating more than 5 million students from nursery to twelfth grade.
Additionally, approximately 10,000 private schools registered under the private regulatory authority educate around 250,0000 children. The teaching and learning process involves 150,000 teachers.
The extended summer holidays will result in a significant number of students and teachers being away from the learning process, confined to their homes, which can impact educational progress.