KARACHI – Unannounced educational holidays are once again on the rise in the metropolis and have caused huge academic losses to students of public and private schools, colleges and universities in the first month of this year.

During the last 26 days of the month, merely 12 days witnessed academic activities in public and private educational institutions, as announced and unannounced holidays comprise 14 days, including three strikes.

Examination conducting authorities, like the Karachi University, Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK), Board of Secondary Education (BSEK), Aga Khan Board, Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology (FUUAST) and many others have also suffered economic losses due to postponement of examinations on the account of unexpected holidays. Poor law and order situation is one of the most important reasons behind the expected and announced holidays. Some times poor law and order also forces people to keep their children, especially school-going children at home despite the fact that institutions are opened. People take such a decision in view of the worst law and order circumstances of their areas; this is for the protection of their children.

In this regard, four holidays were observed in the city on the eve of Eid Miladun Nabi (PBUH) that started on January 24. It is pertinent to mention here that public and private schools, colleges and universities announced holidays starting from Friday (November 23, 2012) to Sunday (November 25, 2012), on account of 8th, 9th and 10th Muharram. KU Dean Faculty of Science Prof Dr Shahana Urooj Kazmi, while talking to The Nation, said that students, their parents and institutions suffered mental stress and also an economic loss. She said that administration of the Karachi University also suffered financial loss if any strike caused suspension of academic activites in the city.

“The University of Karachi is an affiliating and examining body and at present, 145 colleges and institutions are affiliated with the university. The university conducts examinations of about 150,000 students studying in these colleges/institutes, prepare their results and award degrees. These announced holidays speak volumes about poor law and order situation. Due to political unrest in the city, the Karachi University could not start its new academic session on time. It was to commence on January 4, 2013,” she said, adding that two holidays would be observed on January 29 and 30, as the university is going to hold its annual convocation. Central leader of Sindh Professors and Lecturers Association (SPLA) Professor Iftikhar Azmi condemned the poor law and order situation causing huge academic losses to students and financial loss to the institutions.

Talking on the issue, Haider Ali, President Peak Private Schools Association, Sindh, showed serious concern over the issue of educational loss due to the strikes and poor law and order situation prevailing in the city. Commenting on the issue, Zafar Ahmed, a father of three schools going children, expressed serious concerns over the unexpected holidays, and said that our law enforcers have completely failed to maintain the lost peace of the city. He said that suspension of the educational activities has become the regular matter of the city, but the government is unconcerned towards the issue.