Board examinations won't be cancelled, Shafqat Mahmood says
Educational institutions in virus hotspots of Islamabad, Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will remain closed till April 11.
“By educational institutions, we mean all colleges, academies, universities and madrassas,” Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said Wednesday.
Schools in different parts of Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa were closed from March 15 to March 28 because of a sharp rise in the number of coronavirus infections. Their closure has now been extended till the second week of April.
The schools will remain closed in the following districts:
“We realise that closing schools will affect the education of students but health is our top priority.” The decision has been taken because of the third wave of the coronavirus, Mahmood while briefing the media about the decisions taken by the National Command and Operation Centre.
We have seen that the number of cases in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Kashmir has increased, he said. “The number of infections is relatively less in Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Balochistan.”
He remarked that provincial governments can make the decision on keeping schools opened or closed depending on the number of infections.
On Wednesday, 30 people lost their lives from the virus while 3,301 new cases were reported countrywide. The highest number of cases was recorded in Sindh followed by Punjab.
Board examinations will not be cancelled this year and examinations of classes 9, 10 and 11 will be held as per schedule, he remarked.
“Last year, they were cancelled and students were promoted without appearing for their examinations,” he said. “This won’t happen now.”
“As far as Cambridge exams are concerned, they are starting on April 26,” he said. “We will hold a meeting with Cambridge today and will see if the exams can be extended.”
The minister said that an announcement regarding that will be made after the meeting.
All educational institutions across the country were closed in late February 2020 after coronavirus cases began to rise. They were reopened in phases starting September 15, 2020.
On November 23, 2020, after the second wave of coronavirus cases hit the country, the government announced that all educational institutions would close again from November 26, 2020.
Classes were taken online till December 24, 2020, and winter vacations started from December 25, 2020, and were supposed to last till January 10. The government said it would hold a meeting to review the decision to reopen schools on January 4.
The NCOC then decided that schools would reopen in phases with classes nine to 12 being the first to reopen on January 18.
On March 10, the government closed schools in Punjab, Islamabad and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa for two weeks in light of the third wave of the coronavirus.