ISLAMABAD: As the coronavirus cases rise and the government mulls strategies to curb the virus’ spread, the virtual meeting of education ministers of the Centre, provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) will be held on Monday with Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mahmood in the chair.
The meeting will discuss a spike in coronavirus cases in the country and the time frame of extended winter vacation for schools and colleges.
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) has recommended early and extended winter vacations for students due to an increasing number of coronavirus cases at educational institutions. Coronavirus cases have been reported in several educational institutions in Pakistan as the cases have been on the rise in the country for the last three weeks. The district administration has sealed the relevant departments and classes after coronavirus cases were reported in three universities in Islamabad.
Earlier, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas said on Saturday that the decision to close or keep the schools open in the province will be based on data, as he stressed that “sensible decisions” are needed to be taken.
“If I close the schools, the people are not happy. If I keep the schools open, the people are not happy. Let me just inform everyone that decision will be made on data that is being given to me,” Raas said in a tweet.
“Lives matter the most. Zero pressure on me from either side. Sensible decisions have to be made,” the minister added.
The Sindh Education and Literacy Department on Saturday decided not to close schools for the time being or have any winter vacations at all this year, after key stakeholders in the provincial education sector met with Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani in the chair.
Ghani, after the meeting, said that the Sindh Education Department’s decision represented the province’s position and that a national decision on the matter would ultimately be taken on November 23, when representatives of all provinces are to meet and debate the issue.
It was further decided in the meeting that students will not be promoted again without them sitting for examinations.
The Federal Ministry of Education, earlier, sent proposals to provinces suggesting them to close primary schools from November 24 to January 31, 2021. The ministry has proposed that primary schools should be closed from November 24, while middle schools should be closed from December 2.