Education Institutes in Pakistan that are located in COVID-19 hotspots will remain closed till April 11, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood announced on Wednesday.
He made the announcement at a press conference after chairing a meeting at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC). The meeting was also attended by senior officials from the health and education department, and provincial education ministers.
Shortly after the meeting, the provincial governments announced the areas where schools will remain closed.
In Punjab, educational institutes will be closed in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Multan, Faisalabad, Sialkot, Sargodha, and Sheikhupura, according to provincial Education Minister Murad Raas.
During the press conference, Mahmood said the forum noted the high incidence of coronavirus cases in several districts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Jammu, and Kashmir.
“However, the number of cases in Sindh, Balochistan, and Gilgit-Baltistan is relatively low,” he said.
“Therefore, it was decided that educational institutions in selected areas, where restrictions were imposed previously, will continue to be closed till April 11,” he maintained. Mahmood emphasized that this applied to schools, colleges, academies, and universities alike.
Moreover, he added the provincial governments will also decide if schools need to be closed down in other areas.
“As you know there were nine districts in Punjab [where schools were closed down], then another was added. We closed them in Peshawar and then eight other districts were added.”
He said the provincial governments will take the necessary steps based on the numbers. “If they wish to call teachers and administrative staff, they can do so.”
The minister also addressed the board examinations
Reportedly, the minister said that the forum will continue to review the country’s coronavirus outbreak. “We know that closing down schools has caused harm to children’s education, but we can’t risk their health.”
He reiterated that the provincial government will decide the areas where the education institutes will be closed, adding that the closure will last till April 11 in COVID-19 hotspots.
Addressing the confusion surrounding board examinations, he said that giving students the “baseline” grade was no longer an option. Therefore, board examinations will take place according to their timetable.
“We will also have a meeting with the Cambridge education board to see if we can move the exams forward,” he said. However, he refrained from making any further comments before the meeting.
Meanwhile, all public and private schools in Sindh will remain open as per schedule, said Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani on Wednesday.
It is pertinent to mention that Pakistan’s Covid-19 cases have drastically risen in the past seven days.
Meanwhile, Twitter continues to abuzz with students requesting the minister to cancel CIE 2021.
Story Courtesy: Dawn
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