The Punjab government’s abrupt decision to announce winter vacations in all public and private schools of the province gave birth to so many speculations, since the announcement was made after 12:00 am through the official twitter account of the provincial government.
The decision to close the schools was taken against the backdrop of the attack on Bacha Khan University, Charsadda, in which 14 students were killed. A state of uncertainty prevails in the educational institutions across the province since.
The provincial government posted on its twitter account that all public and private schools would remain closed due to ‘severe cold’ from January 26 to 31 in Punjab.
However, an official from the Education Department told this scribe that the vacations were announced to boost security measures at schools as most of them lacked adequate security arrangements.
Nevertheless, students of colleges and universities also seemed confused regarding the vacations after someone floated the message that the universities had also been closed for winter vacations.
Hamza, a student from Government College University Lahore, told Pakistan Today that he could not attend the university the other day when he got the news that the universities had been closed for a week. The same happened with Muhammad Ahmad, a lecturer at Government Islamia College Civil Lines. He said that uncertainty had popped up in his mind because of the way the government announced winter vacations for the schools.
The Punjab chief minister on Thursday chaired a meeting of all vice-chancellors to review security arrangements at public and private universities. A participant of the meeting told Pakistan Today that there was no chance of vacations in the universities as the security arrangements at the universities were quite better as compared to schools. He said the chief minister appeared quite satisfied since all the SOPs were being adhered to by the universities and colleges.
Another source privy to the meeting said that some security arrangements still needed to be followed by public sector colleges, such as, deputing snipers at the rooftops. He said that the teachers at colleges were of the view that until improvement in security situation, they must be sent on winter vacations.
Nevertheless, the Lahore College for Women University (LCWU) public relations officer rejected the reports that the varsity had been closed. Anwar Khan said that academic activities at the university were in full swing.
Kashif Adeeb, the vice president of private schools’ association, said that the government had announced vacations in wake of security threats. He said 90 schools had been closed over poor security arrangements and more than 300 had been served show-cause notices which showed that the vacations were announced to boost security.