COVID-19: Pakistan decides to close schools, colleges and universities till Jan 10


Web Desk
All the educational institutes will remain closed in Pakistan from November 26 till January 10 due to the rising number of coronavirus cases, announced Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood in the capital, Islamabad on Monday.
The federal education minister was addressing a press conference at the National Operations and Command Center (NCOC) along with SAPM on Health Dr Faisal Sultan to give a briefing about the decisions taken in the education ministers’ meeting
“We analysed the coronavirus situation in all provinces and concluded that keeping stern action has to be taken to stem the spread of the virus,” Dr Faisal Sultan told newsmen.
The SAPM added that the situation is deteriorating in the country day-by-day and the positivity ratio has risen to 7.4%.


“All ministers have mutually decided to keep all educational institutions, including schools, colleges, universities, and tuition centres closed. However, online classes will continue from November 26 to December 24 after which winter break will start. Schools will reopen on January 11, 2021,” Shafqat Mahmood said.
The minister said that a review session in the first week of January would be held before reopening of schools.
All the examinations scheduled during the period have also been postponed which will commence from January 15, Mahmood added.
Dr Sultan said that professional exams including MDCAT 2020 will be held as per schedule but with strict adherence to COVID-19 SOPs.
“If there are any other exams scheduled for recruitment they will continue as per schedule,” he added.
“In hostels, only one-third of students would be allowed and other training and courses, which are not in a classroom setting, will continue as is.”
Mahmood said that they are also requesting that the board exams which are scheduled in March and April should be pushed to June and May so that students can cover their syllabus.
They are also considering starting the academic year from August instead of April.
Meanwhile, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas said that schoolchildren in Punjab will be promoted to the next classes on the basis of their homework.
He also added that Punjab Board exams, which are held in March, will now be conducted in May and June 2021.
The minister also said that while schools will remain closed, teachers will have to go to schools twice a week, i.e. on Mondays and Thursdays to ensure that the quality of homework is up to the mark.
Regarding the closure of schools, Murad Raas said that he is not in favour of closing schools, but the decision has been taken unanimously by all the provincial education ministers.

“If schools are being closed to protect children, then parks, shopping malls, and other recreational places should also be closed as well,” he said.
However, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said that no student will be promoted to the next class without examinations this year, adding that a decision regarding the dates of class 9th, matric, and intermediate exams is yet to be taken.
During the meeting, the minister had suggested that instead of closing all schools in the province, only primary schools — which have 75% enrolment — should be closed, while children from class 6th and above should continue to go to school.
However, Federal Education Minister said that schools across the country should remain closed for the specified duration without exception.


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