Despite govt directives, private schools reopen in parts of Peshawar

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PESHAWAR: Despite strict directives of the government about reopening of the schools for on-campus learning from January 18 and 25, majority of the private schools in the suburban parts of the provincial capital and elsewhere in the province have been reopened for academic activities after a short winter recess.

The Elementary and Secondary School Department, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had issued a detailed notification regarding resumption of online and on-campus academic activities as well as reopening of educational institutions for staff.

The directives were being followed well in the public sector institutions. However, the private schools mostly in rural areas have been openly violating the directives.

As per the government directives, all summer zone elementary and secondary educational institutions have been reopened for teachers and staff only from Monday last (January 11). The purpose of reopening the schools for staff a week ahead of on-campus classes was to make preparations for ensuring standard operating procedures (SoPs) for preventing the spread of Covid-19.

The schools having the facility of online education have been given the option to resume online classes. But few among the public sector schools have the facility of online learning. The private schools mostly in the posh areas of the provincial metropolis have asked the students to join them in the online classes.

“These online classes are nothing but making an excuse for fee collection. Look, they have asked my minor son, who is a student of playgroup, to start taking online classes, which seems nothing more than a joke,” said a parent, Mohammad Zubair Khan, while talking to The News.

He said that the school owners do collect their fees and other charges during the period when the schools are closed. “This they had done during the past more than one year when even exams could not be held. And they were enjoying full support of the Private Schools Regulatory Authority, whose job is to regulate private education system, not fleece parents and collect fees for the private schools,” he argued.

According to the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Education Department’s notification, classes of Grade 9 to 12 will recommence on campus from January 18. The schools would be bound to implement Covid-19 SoPs already issued by the government.

The primary and secondary classes on the campus would, however, be resumed from January 25.

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