Schools to Remain Open Amid Pandemic, Decided by Education Minister

On Thursday, Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood presided over a meeting consisting of his provincial equivalents. In the meeting, it was decided upon unanimously that, as of now, the educational institutions of the country would remain open despite the increasing number of positive cases of coronavirus across the state. 

The second wave of Covid-19 is at the large in the country with the percentage being the highest in the past three months. 

The participants of the online meeting were briefed about the current situation of the virus and its infections in the country by officials of the health ministry after which the educational minister from all provinces made the decision with one accord. 

The ministers decided that schools, colleges, and universities need not be closed down in the current condition. 

Shafqat Mehmood said that the situation was not grave enough for schools and colleges to be shut down yet, although he did make clear that the health of students will not be compromised. 

In addition to this, another decision made in the meeting was that the educational institutions of Punjab will not have winter vacations this year, whereas the decision about winter holidays in other provinces would be made according to the geography of the relative provinces.

The meeting said that the decision about schools in the northern areas will be made accordingly due to the harsh weather situations. 

The ministers said that the coronavirus lockdown has caused students a huge loss in terms of education and that winter holidays cannot be afforded by them this year. 

As for board examinations of 8th, 9th, and 10th classes, the meeting was unable to decide anything now. 

The Higher Education Commission (HEC), earlier this week, confirmed that universities in overall Pakistan are not going to be closed again. 

Only the health ministry officials have the authority to decide the closure of universities if they find that corona cases have surpassed the critical threshold, said the HEC. 

Murad Raas, Education Minister of Punjab, tweeted earlier today, after the meeting, that news about the coronavirus worsening and the schools shutting down are fake and all made up. 

He further said that the schools in Punjab would be kept open and would be run on the current schedule, adding that the coronavirus situation, as of now, is under control. 

The minister requested masses to follow Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) as suggested by the School Education Department Punjab. 

The next meeting of all Education Ministers of Pakistan has been scheduled for December 2020. 

Educational institutions were reopened in Pakistan in September after remaining closed for more than six months, however, students were being taught through online classes.