Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood announces decision after NCOC meeting
Pakistan’s educational institutions will start reopening from January 18.
Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood addressed a press conference on Friday and said the biggest impact on Pakistan’s COVID-19 tally was closing schools.
Analysing the data, we have seen that from November 26 the drop in cases has not been significant, he said, adding that this calls for creating a balance between the health and education sector.
Mahmood said that students have suffered a huge educational loss in 2020 but at the same time their health is the government’s utmost priority as well.
These are the decisions he announced:
The minister pointed out that when the government announced that it was closing schools during the second wave of the virus on November 26, the average deaths per day was five and over 500 cases were being reported a day.
Experts told us that the infection rate in the country was highly influenced by schools, he said.
The latest statistics show that the positivity ratio has gone down to 6.10 from 7.4 which is still comparatively high, Mahmood said.
The number of critical patients has increased to 2,300 and the average mortality rate has improved just a little too.
The minister added that this year, no students will be promoted without examinations and therefore, the decision to reopen classes 9 to 12 was made.
“We will review the situation again in a meeting next week and make further decisions.”
Education institutions in cities and districts where the infection rate is high should remain closed, he added.
All educational institutions across the country were closed late February after coronavirus cases spiked. They were reopened in phases starting September 15.
Universities, colleges, and classes IX and X resumed from September 15. The students from classes VI to VIII were called to schools from September 23 and the students enrolled below class VI started from September 30.
To compensate for the lost time, Pakistan’s educational institutions decided to remain open on Saturdays and do away with winter vacations.
On November 23, after the second wave of coronavirus hit the country, the government announced that all educational institutions would close again from November 26.
Classes were taken online till December 24 and winter vacations started from December 25 and will last till January 10. The government said it will hold a meeting to review the decision to reopen schools on January 4.
On the other hand, Ghani said he doesn’t think schools across Pakistan will reopen in January.
The minister said that under given circumstances, where the second wave of the novel coronavirus has gripped the country, it is highly unlikely that educational institutions will reopen.