ISLAMABAD: ISLAMABAD: A large number of parents have demanded the authorities announce summer vacations for the students, especially in early years, whose health is at risk due to the scorching heat and prolonged exposure to high temperatures in classrooms, lacking facilities of cooling and clean drinking water. It has been observed that several students have lost consciousness in different schools of Islamabad while many were unable to attend schools due to the unbearable heat. Many of the small kids feel the heat and feel sick in their classrooms. Parents are asked to rush to school and take their kids to a medical facility for first-aid. A female teacher at Islamabad College for Girls F-6/2 on the condition of anonymity said, “In this hot weather, children are at greater risk than adults for dehydration and heat illness. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, loss of consciousness and headache is commonly seen among the students these days.” She further said that the high officials of the Federal Directorate of Education (FDE) and principals of the educational institutions sitting in the air-conditioned rooms cannot be aware of how difficult it is for the students as well as the teachers to manage academic routine in the burning heat of summer. “Fighting the heat itself is a hard challenge for small kids and what can be said about the exams”. Asad, a student of H-8 College said, “It’s awfully hot in our college and I start sweating when I am just sitting in my class. Ceiling fans of the classrooms are very old and they move slowly. The suffocating heat in classrooms makes even the simplest tasks difficult. Water coolers are out of order. There is no cold drinking water available nearby. We have to go to the main gate to drink even a sip of water. Many teachers complained that FDE and educational institutions are working on contradictory promotion policies. On the one hand it was announced in the media that students of class I to IV and Class VI to VII will be promoted without exams and on the other hand many principals of model colleges have issued the date sheet to conduct annual exams.” Shagufta, a mother of two kids said, “It is a rare sight to see animals and birds out in the burning sun these days. But toddlers and growing kids of junior to senior classes can be seen drenched in their sweat while commuting to school and this is more so when they go back to their homes packed in school vans. “There are no arrangements in the schools to fight the sweltering summer at schools. Amidst this heat, some government schools of junior level have scheduled annual exams for the classes I-IV, VI and VII. This seems highly unimaginable how the small kids that heroically just manage to brace the summer and come to school, would be able to attempt and solve their papers when they sweat from head to toe”, she lamented. A parent, Hamid said, “My two daughters are studying at Islamabad Model College for Girls I-8/4. The college is going to conduct annual exams from June 11 to June 17. Kids are already cramped up in classrooms in boiling temperatures. It is indeed a pitiable sight that kids of class I to VII would go through the challenge of exams in such a hard to manage heat-wave.” Instead of taking exams, FDE should announce summer holidays as soon as possible as several cases of children fainting and suffering heat stroke have been reported.” Another teacher in the junior section of ICB G-6/3 said, “This is the first time that schools are open in hot weather. Heat waves blistered the city and students are not aware of repercussions of this weather. How can they protect themselves from this heat?” A teacher from IMCG, F-10/2 conveyed that ceiling fans are not working properly in the classrooms which can cause heat stroke or severe illnesses in the students. There is no facility of clean drinking water in the school since reopening while the canteen is also closed. A parent, Shahid Nadeem whose son is studying at IMCB I-8/3 told that there are two ceiling fans in the classroom of his son out of which one is out of order and the other one moves slowly. While wearing masks in such hot weather is another challenge for the students which causes suffocation. Marwa, a student of IMCG I-8/4 said, “I am an allergy patient and it is very hot in the classroom and the teacher does not allow me to remove the mask. It is very difficult for me to concentrate on my studies because of suffocation”. When contacted, a senior official of FDE informed that the school timings have been reduced for the time being and further decisions can be taken by the authorities.