The new academic year uncertainty continues
Karachi, Jan 21, 2008: Caretaker Provincial Minister for Education Shujaat Ali Baig
finally gave in the stakeholders and said that the new academic session would
start as per the previous schedule (August 1, that is). A notification about
this will be issued during the committee's next meeting which will be held
either on Monday or Tuesday, sources said.
Last Saturday a long
consultative meeting was held with educational partners and government
officials, and a consensus emerged for opening schools on April 1. Contrary to
the education department's claims about taking all stakeholders into confidence,
however, private school management associations alleged that the minister made
preferential treatments because expect for one association, no one else was
invited to the steering committee meeting where the April 1 decision was
finalised. Undoing this decision or taking a decision on an individual level, on
the other hand, would be tantamount to violating the procedures of the
The April 1 decision also had repercussions on students, who for
the whole year remained confused about education policies.
Matric boards have already announced that classes for grades nine and ten would
start from April 15. During this time, centres would be established at schools.
The latter would therefore remain closed during this period. Sources in the
education department said that it would be impossible to complete the entire
process on time, and it would therefore be more appropriate to defer the
decision till next year.
The caretaker minister will have a meeting on
Monday with the Sindh chief minister and the governor, after which the final
announcement about the commencement of the new academic session would be
notified, officials said.
One of the participants of the meeting
said, however, that the minister had given in to the August 1 decision in order
to support schools based on the foreign system, because his wife also handles an
educational institute based on this system.
A senior bureaucrat also
questioned the minister's decision during the last meeting. According to him, in
1992 the World Bank had threatened to cut its financial aid if the academic
session did not start from April 1. At that time a three-day conference was
called, the outcome of which was the best period for holding exams was March,
and the session would start from April 1. The News