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Summer holidays delayed over inter-provincial games

Summer holidays delayed over inter-provincial games

ISLAMABAD: The Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) has delayed summer vacations in the educational institutions to the second week of June as the government wants the presence of students in the upcoming inter-provincial games in the capital city.

The first Quaid-i-Azam inter-provincial games will be held from June 9-12 at the Pakistan Sports Complex and Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif is likely to inaugurate the mega event.

Speaking to Dawn, FDE director administration Saib Raza Hasnain Kharal confirmed that they had received a letter from CADD about the four-day inter-provincial games beginning from June 9. He said he had constituted committees which would supervise the students’ visits to the Sports Complex. “I think around 15,000 students from the FDE affiliated schools will watch the games.” He, however, said a final date for the start of the summer vacations had not yet been decided.

Sources in the FDE told Dawn that recently Director General FDE Shahnaz Riaz and Secretary Capital Administration and Development Division (CADD) Hanif Khalid attended a meeting in which the option of delaying the vacations was discussed.

Besides the schoolchildren, the government is also considering inviting to the event the newly-recruited police officials, who are undertaking training at the Police Training College, Sihala. The meeting was presided over by Minister for Inter-provincial Coordination (IPC) Riaz Hussain Pirzada and attended by Secretary Ejaz Chaudhry, DIG capital police Sultan Azam Taimuri and others.

When contacted, Secretary CADD Hanif Khalid said the tentative period for the summer vacations was from June 15 to August 15. However, he did not give any reasons for the proposed delay in the vacations.

Normally, the summer vacations in the educational institutions in the city begin in the first week of June. The Punjab government has already announced that schools in the province would observe the vacations from June I.

“The sports board and the ministry of inter-provincial coordination (IPC) should take a wise decision rather than imposing undue burdens on the students in the sweltering heat. They should have arranged the games in the spring,” said Professor Sagheer Ahmed Mirani, the president of the Islamabad College Teachers Association.

“The FDE should follow the Punjab government’s decision to observe the summer vacations from June 1. The delay in the vacations will disturb the education calendar,” said a schoolteacher, who requested not be named.

It may be noted that the federal government in the 2014-15 budget allocated Rs100 million for the ministry of IPC to hold national games. However, the ministry and the Sports Board could not organise the national games throughout the year.

And now when the fiscal year was about to end on June 30, the ministry and the PSB have decided to hold the inter-provincial games in which the four provinces, Fata, AJK and Islamabad will participate.

According to the budget documents, the ministry and the PSB were supposed to hold the national games in which all sports federations and departments were to take part. However, apparently due to the delay the organisers hastily turned the national games into an inter-provincial event. “I have no idea about schoolchildren’s involvement in the event,” said Akhtar Nawaz Ganjera, the director general (technical) of the Pakistan Sports Board.

Talking about the status of the games, he said: “You can’t say these are national games. In the national games, we have to involve the Pakistan Olympic Association. So, these are inter-provincial games which we can organise without the departments concerned and the sports federation,” he said.

When asked why the games were being held in the hot weather, he said: “Since it is our first experience of holding inter-provincial games, we have to hold a series of meetings to finalise things,” he added.

According to a spokesman for the ministry of inter-provincial coordination, around 3,000 athletes, both males and females, will be competing in badminton, football, hockey, judo, karate, squash, swimming, table tennis, taekwondo and volleyball. Wrestling will be contested by male athletes only.

Published in Dawn, May 22nd, 2015

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