Govt fails to include 'special education schools' in its notification for holiday due to smog - Pakistan Today

Govt fails to include ‘special education schools’ in its notification for holiday due to smog

–Punjab govt notification also leaves out schools in cities located between Lahore and Faisalabad

LAHORE: Poor air quality in Punjab has forced the provincial education department to close all public and private schools in districts Lahore, Gujranwala, and Faisalabad on November 22.

According to a notification issued by Punjab government on Thursday, schools will remain closed on Friday due to “dense smog” in the three districts.

However, it was learnt that the notification does not call for closure of all schools in Lahore division, as Nankana district is also facing similar levels of smog but schools there were not ordered to be closed.

Moreover, the notification also failed to order the closure of schools of children with special needs.

As of yet, several “special education schools” in Lahore district will remain open.

A source speaking on condition of anonymity told to Pakistan Today that a similar situation was observed when schools were closed due to rising smog levels, earlier this month.

“Two institutions in Nankana district located side by side painted a bleak picture of authorities’ apathy where the school for ‘special children’ operating under the ‘Special Education Department’ was open while the school for normal children was closed,” he said.

“Schools in cities located between Lahore and Faisalabad were also not included in the notification, which gives the impression that children from bigger cities are receiving preferential treatment,” said a concerned parent.

The government had directed all students to wear air filter masks during school hours and ordered schools to hold awareness sessions on environment.

It is pertinent to mention here that this is the third time this month that the government has decided to keep schools closed due to smog.

Aptly being called the fifth season of Lahore, smog, for the last four years, has deprived people of sunshine and dusk-hour charm as layers of toxic smoke engulf the horizon from November to February.

The situation seems to have deteriorated even further this year.

It is reported that Lahore was ranked the second most polluted city in the world with an air quality ranking of 447, according to Air Visual’s Air Quality Index (AQI) published last week.

An AQI ranking between 301-500 (or above) is classified as ‘hazardous’ and would “trigger a health warning of emergency conditions.”

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