RAWALPINDI, May 31: Parents and teachers here on Tuesday opposed Punjab government`s decision to allow summer camps during vacations in public and private schools.
Unlike previous years, the provincial government issued a notification allowing private and government schools to hold compulsory summer camps from 7:30am to 10:30am for class 5th, 8th, 9th and 10th from June 1 to August 14.
The summer vacations in private schools will be observed from June 15 to September 5. However, the provincial education department ordered them to follow the summer vacation schedule issued by it.
But parents were of the view that the summer camps had been allowed just to enable private schools to earn more money by charging extra fees. “The concept of summer vacation is to provide relief to children from the hot weather and if that relief is not there the government should abolish the summer vacations,” said Mohammad Tahir, a resident of Satellite Town.
He said how parents could send their children to school in the sweltering heat of June and July. “The holding of compulsory summer camps for class 5th and 8th is unfair as mostly families planned trips to their native towns or hilly areas,” he said.
Irfan Siddiqui, a resident of Westridge, said during the hot weather children would suffer from heatstroke and other seasonal diseases.
The teachers of government schools also expressed resentment over the decision, saying summer camps in government educational institutes for class 5th and 8th was unjustifiable.
“The provincial government issued the compulsory summer camps directives just to please private school owners which can bring them extra money,” said Saghir Alam, the president of Punjab Teachers Union`s Rawalpindi chapter, while talking to this reporter .
He said teachers had no problem in performing duties during the summer vacations but it would be difficult for the students. He said government schools also lacked basic facilities like fans and water.
Teachers and parents, he added, were planning to protest against the government decision.
On the other hand, private school owners said the decision to hold the summer camps was in the best interest of the students. “The students of class 5th, 8th, 9th and 10th have suffered a lot during the last few days as textbooks were not available in the market and classes started late,” said Ibrar Ahmed Khan, the president of All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association, Rawalpindi.
He said government schoolteachers remained busy in house census and anti-polio drives during the last few months. “The summer camps will also provide an opportunity to government schools to complete their study plans before examinations,” he said.
The district education officials said the department would enforce the government directives regarding summer camps.
They said a conveyance allowance of Rs2,000 each would be provided to the teachers during the summer camps.