Decision on schools to be taken on March 24
No one will be passed without examinations this year, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said on Monday.
In a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre, he said the government passed students without exams last year but that won’t happen this yar.
“All matric and intermediate exams will be held as per schedule,” the minister said. “We don’t know what the coronavirus situation will be ahead but for now we are determined to take exams for classes nine, 10, 11, and 12.”
Speaking at a press conference at the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry earlier in the day, he said that there’s a huge difference between taking classes online and in person. “Closing schools will be a difficult decision to take.”
The government wants to keep the educational institutions open but the final decision will be taken after a discussion with all provincial ministers on March 24, the minister said.
Talking about a uniform syllabus across the country, he said that the government is working on it. “There were some reservations by Sindh but we are working on them.”
On Sunday, Mahmood said that the third wave of the novel coronavirus is serious and requires careful review. “All education and health ministers will meet Wednesday, March 24 at the NCOC to take a decision regarding opening or further closure of educational institutions.”
The health of students and teachers is the government’s top priority, he added.
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.