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Monday June 17, 2024

Heatwave: Schools in Punjab to get holidays for seven more days

"Viewing parents' opinion, surge in temperature, we have decided to give holidays from this week," says minister

By Duaa Mirza
May 20, 2024
A woman is carrying her children while crossing a busy road after school time in Lahore on May 3, 2024. —Online
A woman is carrying her children while crossing a busy road after school time in Lahore on May 3, 2024. —Online

LAHORE: Amid a forecast of a heatwave and reports of students' getting ill, the Punjab education ministry Monday announced holidays for schools for seven more days.

In a post on X, Punjab Minister for Education Rana Sikandar announced the holidays “in respect for the parents and teachers' opinion as well as children's safety”. The notification shared by Sikandar read that all the public and private schools “shall remain closed for seven days with effect from May 25 to 31”.

“Viewing parents' opinion and surge in the temperature, we have decided to give the holidays from this week,” he said.

Heatwave: Schools in Punjab to get holidays for seven more days

The education minister said the private institutes conducting examinations would be conditionally allowed to keep them open as it was the top priority of his ministry to protect students from the weather’s intense effects.

Govt announces summer vacations

The Punjab government on May 17 announced the annual summer vacations for public and private schools across the province. The notification had said that vacations would be observed from June 1 to August 14.

Meanwhile, the Punjab government had also reduced school timings because of the severe temperatures being observed in multiple cities across the country.

“The schools will open from 7am till 11:30am from Monday till Thursday, while they will open at 7am to close at 10:30am on Fridays,” the notification had read.

Private schools reject extension in vacations

The All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association (APPSMA) on May 17 rejected the decision to begin the summer vacations in the educational institutes from June 1, soon after the Punjab government announced the holiday period for schools across the province.

However, the APPSMA rejected the announcement and demanded permission to allow the schools to function between 7am and 10am from June 1 to June 15.

“Closing schools in the name of extreme heat or cold has become routine,” the association said. It stated that the same was the case with suspension of academic activities due to “emergency or security” reasons.

It demanded summer camps for classes IX and X be allowed for limited hours and sought revision of the notification for the vacation period.

Heatwave prediction

The Pakistan Meteorological Department has said that due to the presence of high pressure in the upper atmosphere, heatwave conditions are likely to develop over most parts of the country, especially over Punjab and Sindh from May 21.

It added that they will likely convert to severe heatwave conditions from May 23 to 27.

Day temperatures are likely to remain 4 to 6°C above normal in Punjab from May 21 to 23 and from 6 to 8°C from May 23 to 27.