KARACHI: The steering committee of the Sindh Education Department decided on Wednesday to reschedule the summer vacations in schools from May 1 to June 30 every year.
The decision was followed by the announcement that the academic year in the province will start from July, instead of August. Meanwhile, the schools' annual examination would be conducted between March 20 and April 20.
The steering committee meeting was chaired by Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah and attended by Education Secretary Qazi Shahid Parvez, Colleges Secretary Parvez Sehar, Sindh Education Foundation Managing Director Naheed Durrani, school directors and chairpersons of Sindh's examination boards.
Sindh govt abolishes public holidays in educational institutes
The steering committee of the education department is a powerful body that is responsible to take policy decisions regarding the workings of the education sector in the province.
The meeting also discussed the "growing trend of copy culture" and decided to devise a comprehensive policy on the issue. "We have discussed an idea to conduct the exams in open areas such as grounds instead of classrooms," the education minister told the media after the meeting. "In this regard, I have directed the chairpersons of all boards to submit their proposals within 15 days. We will hold the next meeting on this issue soon after the proposals are submitted," said Shah, adding that strict action would be taken against teaching staff and other individuals promoting copy culture.
As the meeting was being wrapped up, some sections of the media started reporting that the education department had decided to abolish public holidays such as Kashmir Day, Pakistan Day, Shah Latif Day, Eid Miladun Nabi, Qauid-e-Azam Day and Independence Day in all educational institutions across the province.
The education minister, however, rebutted the reports. "We have not abolished public holidays," he clarified. "Educational activities will remain suspended on the designated holidays, but we have decided to celebrate these days at the school level in order to educate children about their importance." Shah added that government intends to revise the syllabus in order to create a competitive environment among children and develop their critical thinking skills.
Education reforms: Govt urged to complete school renovation process
"We want to introduce a modern syllabus in order to make students good human beings, inculcate moral values, national unity and transform our children into good Pakistanis," he said, adding that an outdated syllabus is being taught at the school level where students are forced to memorise chapters.
With regards to extracurricular activities in schools and colleges, the education minister was of the view that sports and other activities would be mandatory in all schools.
It was also decided to hold the steering committee meeting on a quarterly basis, unlike the past practice of convening the meeting once a year. Concluding his media talk, the minister again warned private schools to follow the government and court's directives with regards to tuition fees. "We will have no other option but to take action against those schools that disobey the court's and government's orders."
Published in The Express Tribune, January 3rd, 2019.