Private schools that offer the Matric system are upset once again with the government’s decision to hold summer holidays in June and July as they say this only caters to the 20% of O’ and A’ Level institutions in the city.
This was approved by Chief Minister Qaim Ali Shah on March 25 against the recommendations of the Sindh education department’s steering committee. There are a total of 4,000 private Matric system schools registered with the board in Karachi. The city also has about 150 offering the Cambridge system but which are not necessarily registered with the board.
“Such an elitist imposition on the rest of the 80% of schools will not be accepted,” said Sharfuz Zaman of the Private Schools Management Association while talking to The Express Tribune on Monday.
The problem is that Matric system schools want to factor in the holy month of Ramzan – a demand that has led to confusion and disagreement in the past. In fact, last year, the steering committee had received suggestions from government and private schools that argued Ramzan needed to be factored in. Thus, the summer vacations should be pushed ahead to start in July. However, almost all the Cambridge system schools were against this, stating that their academic year started from August 1 which is why they needed the vacations to run from June 1 to July 31.
“The Sindh government listened to their unjustified hue and cry and turned down the decision of the steering committee and kept the vacations for June and July,” said Zaman.
A meeting called by the education department today to discuss the disagreement with the owners of private schools was once again postponed as the education secretary Muhammad Siddique Memon could not make it. The department had first called the meeting on April 18, it was postponed for April 21 and then rescheduled for May 2. The new date is May 4.
A senior education official told The Express Tribune that the problem was that influential people owned Cambridge system schools and thus did not depend on the government department for their decisions. “They do not even bother to contact us and settle matters with the chief minister,” he said. “It comes to our knowledge only afterwards.”
These Cambridge schools are so independent that once in a meeting their representatives did not even know who were Sharfuz Zaman and Syed Khalid Shah of the All Private School Management Association.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 3rd, 2012.