Punjab literacy project to be converted into a department

Winter vacations extended until Jan 12 in province

Qaiser Shirazi January 07, 2020

RAWALPINDI: Keeping in view its impressive performance, the provincial government on Monday decided to upgrade a literacy project in the province and convert it into a government department.

Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar approved to award the status of a department for the literacy project underway across the province.

Documentation for the purpose has been completed and a critical meeting for discussing various matters related to the conversion, including the arrangement of funds, is expected to be held by the end of the month.

After being upgraded, employees working in the literacy department will be counted in the civil servants’ cadre.

The project had been initially launched by former president General (retired) Pervez Musharraf.

Under the project, more than 10,000 literacy centres operate across Punjab, including some 500 centres in the 30 jails of the province.

The literacy project also includes a special programme for the education of people who are transgender.

Winter vacations extended

Even as schools opened in the federal capital, the provincial education ministry on Monday extended winter vacations until January 12.  A notification for the extension was issued on Monday. The decision was taken in wake of the recent cold wave and dense fog across the province. Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association (APPSMA) rejected the decision and announced to challenge it in the Lahore High Court (LHC).

APPSMA Head Abrar Ahmed Khan told The Express Tribune that the decision will paralyse the education system. He added that it had been a regular practice that winter vacations are limited to 10 days, however, this year, the number of vacations has exceeded 20.

Ahmed said that matriculation examinations will commence from February 22, followed by the intermediate examinations from April 28, adding that course work was not yet been completed in most of the schools due to the excessive number of holidays.

The official said that they will file a petition in the LHC for devising a proper mechanism for vacations in schools.

Students drugs profile

In light of orders of the Punjab government, the education ministry has started profiling the health and personal behaviours of students in public and private schools.

In this regard, the District Education Authority (DEA) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) has issued a circular to all school heads with directions to submit filled forms, comprising 20 questions, by March 31.

The form includes questions about students such as their smoking habits, addiction to drugs and their behaviour in the classroom and overall behaviour in school.

The questionnaire further inquires whether stationary or items brought by the students to schools were tattooed and if it were, what was its nature.

Information regarding a student’s friends circle and what kind of posts they share on social media websites are also part of the profiling process.

It also seeks details about a student’s level of participation in curricular and non-curricular activities as well as their ability to grasp information.

The questionnaire will also focus on various other factors, such as determining a student’s personality, whether they carry any kind of tools to school, attendance, punctuality, discipline in classrooms and others.

After this process, all students enrolled in all public and private schools will undergo a blood test and overall health inspection for the formulation of their health profiles. 

Published in The Express Tribune, January 7th, 2020.


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