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February 12, 2020

Private schools ask govt to start academic year on April 1

Karachi

February 12, 2020

Members of the Private Schools Management Association along with schoolchildren staged a protest demonstration in front of the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday, demanding of the Sindh government to start the academic year on April 1, 2020.

The students were holding placards that read why there was a seven-month session for class ninth only in Sindh. The students were also chanting slogans against the provincial education department as their teachers addressed them.

Owners of private schools claimed that the Sindh School Education and Literacy Department had reduced the current academic year to merely seven months, due to which thousands of students did not have enough time to prepare for the exams.

Talking to The News, the chairman of the Private Schools Management Association (PSMA), Sharaf Uz Zaman, said the new session would be starting on first of April after a seven- month period of the last academic year. “This is why, most of the schools would not be able to complete courses, while the students would have no time for exam preparations. It’s almost impossible to complete seven subjects within seven months, while the students would surely get burdened.”

He said that it was the issue of those students who would be appearing in the exams to be conducted under the Board of Secondary Education Karachi, but the students other than those of the Karachi matric board would also face the same problem. The provincial minister for education, Saeed Ghani, should come forward to rescue the students, he said.

Every year, the Sindh education department holds a meeting of the steering committee comprising all stakeholders, including the representatives of private schools, schools associations, directors of public schools and colleges, chairmen of educational boards, to decide the next academic year.

Last year in January, former provincial education minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah, while chairing a meeting of the steering committee, had decided to introduce the new academic session with a fresh academic calendar. In the academic year 2019 that had to be completed in March 2019, the private schools had already completed courses.

However, during the meeting, the representatives of private schools associations had raised objections to the decision. They were of view that if the new academic year started on July 1

and lasted till April 30 soon before the summer vacations, the students would wait for the commencement of the new academic session and would have no study plan for several months. However, the meeting neglected the viewpoint of the private schools. “We were not heard in the meeting of the steering committee in 2019,” said Zaman.

Other representatives of the association also spoke on the occasion. They appealed to the education minister to intervene in the matter and restore the old calendar year, in which summer vacations were scheduled in June and July.

To know the viewpoint of the authorities, when The News contacted Zubair Memon, media coordinator of provincial education minister Saeed Ghani, he said that some three days ago he had forwarded a press release issued by the Private Schools Management Association to the education minister.

However, the minister has recently assumed charge of the department. This is why the matter is yet to be discussed.