August 06, 2018

PESHAWAR: Amid reports of students’ fainting in the government schools due to extreme hot and humid weather in most parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the elementary and secondary education department on Sunday announced closure of schools till August 14.

“Literally, teachers are unable to teach to the students in the hot and humid conditions inside the overcrowded classrooms of the government schools,” a teacher told Dawn. He said that hours-long power outages added to the miseries of students and teachers.

The summer vacations of government high schools ended on July 31and classes were resumed on August 1. Instead of June 1, the summer vacations began on May 14, about 14 days earlier due to the fall of the holy month of Ramazan.

Since resumption of classes, reports of students’ fainting emerged on daily basis due to scorching heat and hours-long power loadshedding that forced the education department to close all the government schools and extend the summer vacations till August 14.

According to the fresh annual statistical report of government schools, there are 27,514 state-run schools in the province and of them 26 per cent lack electricity and 18 lack supply of drinking water.

It is worth mentioning that most of the private schools were set to open on Monday (today).

“It was a wrong decision of the education department to announce the summer vacations 14 days earlier due to Ramazan,” said Samiullah Khalil, general secretary of School Officers Association, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. He said fainting of students on daily basis perturbed their parents.

“Currently, the teaching learning environment is not fit inside the classrooms due to humidity and heat,” a teacher of a school in the city told Dawn. He said that in the urban and semi-urban areas, around 60 to 100 students were enrolled in each class.

“Imagine the conditions of the students and their teachers in a classroom if there is no electricity while humidity and heat are on peak,” said the teacher. He added that on Saturday, the supply of electricity remained suspended from 8am during the morning assembly till the last period.

The teacher said that till 1996, the summer vacations for the high schools would begin from June 15 and end on August 31 while the primary schools would observe vacations from June 1 till August 31. He added that the date and timing for the summer vacations for the schools were introduced back in the British-era.

The teacher said that the vacations should be extended till the end of August if the perturbing weather remained unchanged. “If education department does not want to extend vacations till the end of August then the school timing should be reduced,” he added.

The caretaker Chief Minister retired Justice Dost Mohammad Khan also took notice of the fainting of students due to hot weather, according to a statement issued here.

He ordered the Private Schools Regulatory Authority to take notice against the private schools that were not extending the summer vacations till August 14.

Published in Dawn, August 6th, 2018

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