New chapter of violence empties out schools


Samia Saleem August 05, 2010

KARACHI: As if the loss of lives was not enough, teachers at various schools felt that their students’ education was also likely to suffer in the aftermath of the ongoing spate of target killings.

Most teachers agreed that it was impossible to hold regular classes before the situation became calmer and feared that they may have to take extra classes to cover the syllabus for the winter semester after attendance at schools remained thin on the fourth day of civil unrest in the city.

While Ahmed Khan, a student of class nine at the Defence Housing Authority (DHA) Public School (O’ and A’ Levels) admitted that he generally enjoyed bunking classes, he added that this time he been looking forward to school as it had been such a long time since he last met his friends.

Although his school had opened on Monday, Ahmed said that less than half the students had attended classes in the last four days.

Attendance at The International School (TIS) crept up to 50 per cent on Thursday, principal Taymur Mirza told The Express Tribune.

It is a good thing that TIS reserves 10 days on the academic calendar for unexpected holidays, said Mirza, who added that the school was compelled to stay teach for a minimum of 180 days each semester as was part of the International Baccalaureate programme.

The Happy Home School plans to cover for the missed days by holding classes on Saturdays.

Less than 20 students showed up to school on Thursday due to the security concerns, said principal Ghazal Nizami.

Classes at most schools under The Citizen’s Foundation (TCF) were suspended for the last four days as the TCF campuses are mostly located in sensitive areas, said the foundation’s vice-president, Ahson Rabbani.

While the Karachi University (KU) remained opened throughout the week, KU pro-vice-chancellor Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi said that the attendance in most departments was not high enough to hold classes.

A large number of students were unable to reach the university as the KU point transportation service was suspended along with public transportation facilities, she added.

Meanwhile, classes at The Lyceum School and St Patrick’s High School remained unaffected as both schools were scheduled to open on August 9 anyway, teachers revealed.

Sameera, mother of two school-going children, said that her son’s school van had failed to turn up due to a shortage of fuel after petrol pumps remained closed across the city.

She admitted that she would not have sent her kids to school in such conditions anyway.

All Private Schools Management Association Sindh (APSMA) had called for all schools to remain closed on Thursday keeping the security concerns in mind, said APSMA chairman Khalid Shah, who added that he had written to the ministry of education to hold classes on Saturday instead.

While schools in Karachi have been affected on a short-term basis, students across the province are likely to suffer for much longer as their schools have been turned into shelters for flood victims, Shah concluded.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 6th, 2010.

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