The inconvenience of late night announcements

Published: February 15, 2011

National holidays come as no surprise to any of us - why can't these be planned?

Late on Monday evening, the provincial government announced a holiday on account of Eid-e-Milad-un-Nabi. The delayed announcement caused students, teachers and parents a great deal of trouble in the morning when they realised that schools were closed for the day.

While I understand the need to close down schools in light of processions, considering the security risks they entail, I fail to understand why such public holiday announcements have to be made at the last minute.

It is unfair because those who didn’t watch the news after 10 pm probably had no knowledge of this announcement. A colleague told me that he was grateful for a ‘parents’ network’ that functions in his son’s school and informs parents and students if classes have been called off late at night.

Unfortunately, a teacher remarked that he had no idea about the holiday and showed up to teach the following day, only to be told that his journey had been pointless.

Moreover, most schools don’t have such an active network, and school websites are seldom updated to inform students of any changes.

In this tech-savvy age where almost everyone is connected through Facebook, Twitter and text messages, students could easily rise to the occasion and help their school spread messages when necessary.

As a former teacher, I witnessed a morning following one of these late-night announcements. What inevitably happens is that school phone lines are busy, or there is no one present at the school premises to take phone calls. Unsure parents and students shuttle back and forth, happy at the thought that the day can be spent at home but inconvenienced nonetheless.

For all those using public transport, these late-night announcements may cost them bus or rickshaw fare that they could have otherwise saved, had the provincial government made the announcement a few days in advance.

After all, if the federal government can announce the holiday in advance (as they have done for February 16), why can’t the provincial government? Eid Miladun Nabi comes every year; there is no excuse for making a last-minute decision.


Atika Rehman

Editor of the Life & Style pages of The Express Tribune and an LLB graduate from the University of London.

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.