Mandatory Celebration of Independence Day in Schools Raises Concerns

Rawalpindi: In a recent development, schools find themselves compelled to partake in the fervor of Jashan e Azadi, or Independence Day, following a directive issued during a meeting chaired by Chief Executive Officer Yasin Khan Baloch. The directive, attributed to Commissioner Noor ul Amin Mengal, has drawn attention due to its timing, given that schools are currently closed until August 20, as mandated by the government.
During the meeting, notable instructions were laid out by Commissioner Mengal pertaining to the forthcoming “Jashan Azadi” festivities, which are scheduled to take place from August 11 to 14. Among the directives are the following:
All schools are required to meticulously arrange and celebrate Independence Day within the designated dates. Failure to comply could lead to the revocation of the concerned school’s registration.
Private school representative bodies and major school chain administrators are mandated to furnish the “Jashan e Azadi” itinerary to Mr. Nazarat Shah at the commissioner’s office. Additionally, a copy of the program must be submitted to the registration branch.
Illumination of school buildings with decorative lighting on August 12, 13, and 14 is made obligatory.
Active participation of students, parents, and the local community in the Independence Day program is strongly emphasized.
Celebrations are expected to take on a novel and distinctive approach, deviating from conventional methods.
The national flag is to be prominently hoisted on school premises as a symbol of unity and patriotism.
Schools are also mandated to provide video recordings of their Independence Day celebrations on a CD, to be submitted to Mr. Nazarat Shah’s office at the commissioner’s office and to the registration branch.
Upon the dissemination of this directive within educational circles, a notable outcry emerged from school principals and educators. Critics argue that this approach appears coercive and should be reconsidered. In light of the ongoing energy crisis and escalating inflation, some educators are suggesting that rather than promoting elaborate lighting displays, encouraging students to partake in meaningful activities such as planting saplings would be more relevant and sustainable. Additionally, concerns are being raised about the feasibility of such ceremonies during the vacation period, as both students and teachers are away. Despite these concerns, the authorities are maintaining their stance and warning of potential registration cancellations for non-compliance with the instructions.

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