Shafqat Mehmood unsure about schools reopening

Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood expressed uncertainty regarding the reopening of schools on January 11 as had been previously planned, adding that the health ministry would need to be consulted before a final decision can take place.

“The final decision would be made on the advice of health ministry as this is fundamentally their domain. We cannot risk children’s health,” Shafqat said while talking to a local news outlet.

While acknowledging the losses faces by schools due to the closures from March 2020 to September 2020, the education minister added that they had adapted for the recent most closure.

“Within 15 days we introduced television school and now we are about to launch radio schooling while universities have moved to online classes,” he said.

When asked a question about the goals of the education sector, Mehmood said that the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government was looking to implement the Single National Curriculum. “It would be applied in all schools both private and public. It is a huge step in ensuring equality.”

Shafqat held a meeting with private school association representatives on reopening schools on Friday. The association is pro-opening schools and has called on the government to reopen schools as soon as possible.

Speaking to media person before the meeting, the private schools’ delegation said that the government must understand their problems and take steps towards a solution.

The association also sought an economic relief package. “The government should suspend the registration fee and taxes for a year.”

Furthermore, the education minister said that the March examinations will be delayed and this year’s summer vacations will be shorter.

Instead of March, the exams will be held in May/June while the school year will begin in August.

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