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January 7, 2015

No extension in winter vacation


January 7, 2015

PESHAWAR: Dismissing the rumours about another extension in the winter vacations of the educational institutions, the authorities said Tuesday that the schools and colleges would reopen as per scheduled on January 12 amid tight security.
There were reports that the winter vacations might be extended for another 20 days till January 31 that created unrest among the school managements, particularly the private institutions, parents and the students.
When reached by telephone, Minister for Elementary Education Mohammad Atif Khan said that all the educational institutions would reopen on January 12. “No extension in the winter vacation is being considered. However, the schools where the threat level is high would not be allowed to reopen unless they get no-objection certification from the authorities,” he said.
The government has issued security guidelines to the educational institutions. The private institutions have reservations over some of guidelines, saying it was difficult for them to follow them.
“The management of each institution would have to hold meeting with the local administration. If administration is not satisfied with their security measures, they would continue to remain closed,” the minister said.
“Security is the most urgent need of the hour. We can’t close our eyes to the security situation to risk the lives of kids,” he added. Confusion still persists that only major institutions would be asked to take security measures and get NoC from the district administration and the minor ones have been exempted.
Minister for Higher Education Mushtaq Ghani told The News that the smaller schools established in the streets having little enrollment and charging modest fee would not be asked to implement the security guidelines.
He said only major institutions and chains, which have huge enrollments and collecting heavy fee would be bound to follow the security code and get NoC.Questions are being raised as to who would decide

which school is minor and which is major.Atif Khan said that the Education Department would soon collect data of all the institutions and the schools having more than 500 and 1000 enrollments would be deemed as major ones.
It seems difficult for all the institutions, both in the public and private sector, to meet the security requirements before January 12 and get permission from the administration to reopen.
However, the minister made it clear that if the local administration considers that the threat level is not that high at certain locations, they could allow the institutions to resume the studies.
Some reports suggested that a number of educational institutions were defying government directives and had reopened on Monday. The minister brushed aside the reports, saying a strict action would be taken against any school defying the government directives.
He said that they got reports of only one school – Leads Public School in Sikandar Town - in the provincial capital that was reopened on Tuesday.A team of the Education Department and Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education Peshawar raided the school and got it closed. “Fine amounting to Rs50,000 was imposed on the school and its registration would be cancelled,” he said.
The district administration has clamped Section 144 in the provincial capital, asking the schools to strictly follow the security guidelines issued by the government.Some institutions run by Pakistan Air Force reopened on Monday and Tuesday. Also, some schools for Afghan children also reopened on January 5.
Atif Khan said that those institutions were not registered with the boards that are under the provincial government.“We don’t have any control over the institutions registered with the federal boards,” he said.

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