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Govt may keep school vacation dates flexible

KARACHI: The government is considering options to protect schoolchildren from harsh winters by changing school timings or by keeping the starting date of winter and summer vacations flexible, said Sindh Education Minister Jam Mehtab Hussain Dahar on Thursday.

As the annual school calendar is prepared in January, it is being considered that the starting date of winter vacation be kept flexible at this time of the year so that the vacation is announced whenever the province experiences a severe cold wave, according to the minister.

The education minister was responding to a point of order raised by Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Khwaja Izharul Hassan during the session on Thursday.

Besides, Mr Dahar added, another option being mulled over was to change school timings in winter by starting classes a bit late. However, he said, a final decision in this regard would be taken after due consideration of all aspects of the two options.

Mr Hassan earlier drew attention of the house towards falling temperatures in Karachi and rain forecast for next week and the appeal of parents for school closure for another week after the recent vacation. He said the loss of academic days could be adjusted by curtailing summer vacation.

Mr Dahar said recommendations had been prepared to keep the starting dates of winter and summer vacations flexible so that the vacations be announced when the province experienced harsh weather conditions in winter and summer.

The minister said educational institutions got winter and summer vacations for a total of 122 days out of 365 days of the year. It would cause loss of studies if winter vacation was extended further, as it would be unfair to curtail summer vacation considering the children of those living in areas where temperature rose to 52 degrees Celsius in summers.

In Karachi, he said, the minimum temperature was not less than 12 degrees Celsius and therefore there was no justification for extending the winter vacation. He also referred to Punjab and the northern areas of the country, where temperature was recorded below freezing point, yet schools were functioning properly.

Earlier, Deputy Speaker Syeda Shehla Raza called the assembly to order at 11.15am, over an hour behind the scheduled time of 10am, as Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani is performing the responsibilities of acting governor since January 11 after the demise of governor Saeed-uz-Zaman Siddiqui.

After the question hour on prisons department, PTI lawmaker Khurram Sherzaman through his call attention notice about devastated road conditions asked for reasons behind accumulation of rainwater on roads, traffic jams and accidents. Local Bodies Minister Jam Khan Shoro informed the house that the government was making all-out efforts to serve the people. He said the roads the PTI leader had mentioned had already been repaired, while other roads where work was under way included University Road, Shafique Mor, Tariq Road, Hub River Road etc. He said encroachments over storm-water drains had been removed and drains cleared at the cost of Rs500 million, which is why rainwater was drained in ‘record’ time.

In response to the call attention notice of Muttahida Qaumi Movement lawmaker Moeen Aamir Pirzada about lack of consumer courts, Senior Minister for Parliamentary Affairs Nisar Ahmed Khuhro said a consumers’ rights bill was passed by the house in 2015.

Responding to the call attention notice about the causes for not opening of the Doolah Darya Khan Flyover after its completion, Works and Services Minister Imdad Ali Pitafi assured the house that the flyover being built between Thatta and Sujawal would be opened to traffic after its completion. He said the longest flyover of Pakistan would reduce travel time considerably.

The adjournment motion of PML-F lawmaker Nusrat Sahar Abbasi regarding the deplorable condition of the civil hospital in Shikarpur was ruled out of order by the chair on technical grounds after Mr Khuhro objected that it was not admissible as instead of referring to one specific issue, it was based on a newspaper report in violation of the rules.

MPA Imtiaz Ahmad Shaikh said he often visited the hospital in Shikarpur that could be counted among the best hospitals in the province.

The house also adopted a resolution, tabled by Ismail Rahu of the PML-N, to pay tribute to prominent leader Shaheed Mohammad Fazil Rahu on his 30th death anniversary, recalling his struggle for the rights of oppressed people, the restoration of democracy and against brutal dictatorship. The same resolution also paid tribute to veteran leader G.M. Syed on his 113th birth anniversary, recalling his role in presentation of Pakistan Resolution in the Sindh Assembly.

The chair referred the government bill, The Societies Registration (Sindh Amendment) Bill, 2015, to the standing committee concerned with the directive to report back after its study within a week as suggested by Mr Khuhro.

After the completion of the business on the order of the day, the chair adjourned the session till Friday at 10am.

Courtesy : Dawn News

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