NCOC, education ministry differ over winter vacations –


ISLAMABAD: The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) and the federal education ministry, it seems, are not on the same page regarding winter vacation in educational institutions, as the former at its meeting on Wednesday recommended the vacation start in the middle of January, a day after the federal education minister announced the holidays would commence on Dec 25.

Following the NCOC recommendation, the ministry kept silent on the issue and did not announce a date.

Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood had after a meeting of the education secretaries on Tuesday announced that the winter vacation would start on Dec 25.

“Federal and provincial secretaries met today [Tuesday]. The agreed proposal was that winter holidays should be from Dec 25 to Jan 4. Further notifications will be made by the governments concerned,” Shafqat Mahmood tweeted on Tuesday, which was also reported in the media.

Students running a campaign on social media for early vacations

But the NCOC meeting on Wednesday recommended the vacation be postponed till the second or third week of January so that the ongoing vaccination campaign in educational institutions could be completed.

A senior officer in the education ministry said that earlier the ministry and secretaries had agreed upon Dec 25 as the date to begin winter vacation, but the NCOC did not agree to it.

“A decision regarding the winter vacation will likely be made [on Thursday] by the federal education minister, who before making any decision will talk to Planning Minister and NCOC head Asad Umar and Health Minister Dr Faisal Sultan,” the officer said.

The Sindh government has already announced winter holidays in all educational institutions of the province from Dec 20 to Jan 3.

Meanwhile, students have been running a campaign on social media demanding early vacations. The federal education minister is once again the subject of a barrage of memes on social media, with students requesting him for early winter holidays. Earlier, the minister faced a similar situation online on the exam issue.

Published in Dawn, December 16th, 2021

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