KARACHI: The education calendar in the province is out of date and not in line with the present weather due to Sindh’s rapid climate change, which is also happening throughout the rest of the nation.


Millions of students are suffering as a result of the calendar’s outdated scheduling, which was determined by the competent authorities to be unsuitable for the current weather when classes and exams were scheduled.

The old schedule affects junior classes the most in the winter and about two million matric and intermediate students in the summer. In spite of this, the departments of Universities and Boards and School and College Education of the Sindh government have demonstrated no willingness to deal with these problems or to adjust the academic calendar to the weather. This frequently leads to longer vacations or exam postponements, as demonstrated this year by the postponement of the matric and intermediate exams because of intense heatwaves.

The Federal Ministry of Education has sent a letter to Sindh outlining these concerns and emphasising the necessity of conforming to the national academic calendar. By the way, the head of the MQM-P party from Sindh currently has the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Education. The current situation, however, has resulted in the postponement of the intermediate test schedule, which is scheduled to begin on May 28, and the suspension of the ongoing matric exams in Karachi on May 22.

The tests for arts and commerce, which were originally planned for the final week of June, will also be delayed as a result of the cancellation of the pre-engineering and pre-medical exams. The severe weather-related interruptions have affected over 290,000 intermediate and 350,000 matric students in Karachi alone, affecting nearly 2 million students across the province.

It is unclear if the Sindh government, or the relevant ministry and department, was previously ignorant of this degree of climate intensity. Decisions might have been taken based on the meteorological department’s assistance in obtaining weather forecasts for the upcoming months. However, this was not done, and when the exam period began in the intense heat, numerous reports of students passing out at exam centres in Sindh’s cities were made due to the intense heat, humidity, and load shedding.

It is evident that the Department of Universities and Boards of the Sindh government was persuaded that Sindh is a member of the federation by the Federal Ministry of Education through a letter dated March 6, 2024. Since the provincial chairpersons of every province had already resolved to hold exams, Sindh need to follow suit. This resolution was adopted at the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers’ Conference on December 12, 2023, following its adoption at the IBCC.

Dr. Ghulam Ali Mallah, the Secretary of the IBCC, stated to “Express” that the decision was made by the IBCC and involved chairpersons of educational boards in Sindh as well as other provinces. Nonetheless, the issue lies in the fact that the steering committee in Sindh determines exam dates, citing incomplete curriculum as justification. As a result, tests must be given in inclement weather since it is not practical to administer them in better weather.”

He went on, “We’re going to start holding tests in March and finish them by the end of April. If not, the same issues will arise, with many universities beginning admissions while students are left behind and students sitting tests in sweltering weather.”

“I once again recommend to the Sindh government to hold exams in March, honour the recommendations of the IBCC forum and the Federal Ministry of Education’s letter, which is in the best interest of Sindh’s children,” Dr. Mallah stated in response to a query. My children are Sindh’s children. Better weather has been attempted to be accommodated for the matric and intermediate exams by the Azad Jammu Kashmir Board and the other three regions.”

Remarkably, for a number of decades, Sindh’s academic year began on April 1. But because of COVID-19, the session was moved to August of 2020, and it remained on August 1 until August of 2023. All courses had delays in their annual exams due to the postponed start of the session. Furthermore, because the academic term has not yet begun, when primary and elementary school pupils return home for summer break, they do not have summer homework, which further impedes their ability to study.

The steering committee of the Sindh School Education Department first agreed to move the start of the session back to April, appointing April 15 as the date and approved the meeting minutes. But as it turned out, the printing tender had been cancelled several times, and the Sindh Textbook Board was not in a position to publish textbooks for the April session. As a result, there were worries that the yearly exams in 2025 would likewise be conducted in extremely hot conditions, thus the session was again moved to begin on August 1.

“We had invited the director of the meteorology department to the steering committee meeting during my tenure as chairman of the Hyderabad Board, and when Qazi Shahid Pervez was the secretary of education,” stated Dr. Muhammad Memon, a well-known education expert and former chairman of the Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board Hyderabad, in response to Express’s question about the mismatch between Sindh’s weather and the academic calendar. The officer presented evidence to substantiate his unequivocal statement that January is the month with the highest recorded temperatures throughout the winter in Sindh. Still, no choice was taken. Similar problems are currently showing up in intermediate and matric tests. Exams are a significant matter, but we are not yet prepared for this.”

“The IBCC has also attempted multiple times to standardise the nation’s academic calendar, with the ideal dates being March and April when the weather is better for matric and intermediate exams,” he continued. Additionally, boards require time to compile results, which causes tension among pupils when universities begin to accept applications. This problem needs to be resolved for the upcoming years. This year, plans were made to begin the session in April, but the decision was changed when it was discovered at the last minute that the Sindh Textbook Board was unprepared.”

Express also made multiple attempts to get in touch with Abbas Baloch, the secretary of the Department of Universities and Boards, and even asked questions over WhatsApp regarding how the province’s students are affected by the academic schedule’s inconsistency with the weather. Nevertheless, there was no reply.

“The dates for exams in Sindh are decided in the steering committee meeting of the education department, usually chaired by the education minister, with the presence of the three relevant secretaries (school, college, universities and boards),” a board chairman said in an anonymous statement. The board chairperson’s schedule is frequently disregarded at meetings due to assertions that the curriculum is incomplete. Our voices are silenced in spite of our arguments, which forces students to take examinations in oppressive heat and load shedding, which results in the cancellation of papers.”

When winter breaks are granted from December 22 to December 31, similar problems occur. Nevertheless, according to meteorological data, the cold wave that mostly affects Karachi and Sindh peaks in January, when temperatures dip to about 6 degrees Celsius. In spite of this, the administration remains unwilling to accept climate change.

In regards to the academic session and climate changes, attempts were also made to get in touch with Zahid Abbasi, the secretary of the Sindh School Education Department, but no reply was obtained.