All educational institutions to reopen on September 15 with SOPs
Shafqat Mehmood says NCOC endorsed reopening of educational institutions
Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood has announced the reopening of educational institutions from September 15 with strict compliance of Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs), reported 24NewsHD TV channel.
Addressing a news conference in Islamabad on Thursday, Shafqat Mahmood said universities and colleges will be opened first and then the schools. “Institutions have been asked to practise how to enforce SOPs by calling teachers in before the reopening,” he added.
Shafqat Mehmood, however, maintained that the ministry would not ask for reopening the schools if the coronavirus-related conditions would not improve by September. He also promised to hold consultative sessions in August before the reopening of the educational intuitions.
Shafqat Mehmood said that all the proposals from the provinces and federation were placed in front of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) where it was agreed to reopen the educational institutions with SOPs if the situation will remain under control.
The minister said the institutions will ask the teachers to conduct rehearsals on how to conduct classes with the framed SOPs. “SOPs are being framed in complete consultation with the provinces,” he added.
Schools, colleges and universities have been closed since March amid the coronavirus fears that has infected 240,848 people out of which 145,616 people successfully recovered. So far 4,983 deaths have been reported due to the deadly virus throughout the country.
Earlier at the inter-provincial education conference on Wednesday last, the education ministers of the four provinces, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltistan agreed to reopening the educational institutions with strict enforcement of SOPs from the first week of September.
It has been decided that before reopening of educational institutions, an inter-provincial education conference will be held on August 22.
Shafqat Mehmood chaired the inter-provincial education ministers' conference and the decisions were taken regarding reopening of educational institutions including schools.
Earlier in a conference, the federal education minister and all provincial education ministers had agreed that the COVID-19 situation would be reviewed before the opening of educational institutions. Educational institutions will also be allowed to conduct examinations with SOPs.
The education conference also decided to convene two more meetings before September.
Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas attended the meeting and in a statement said, “We cannot even think of reopening of schools in the current scenario as the danger posed to students and teachers due to COVID-19.” The minister said, “It is our foremost priority to protect the lives of our teachers and students.”
On the other hand, All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) President Kashif Mirza in a statement issued on Wednesday rejected the government’s announcement to keep the schools shut till September. He demanded the government to reopen schools and claimed that SOPs had already been prepared in this regard to protect students and teachers from novel coronavirus.
Private schools also assured full cooperation to the government for implementation of SOPS in schools. The federation has announced a protest against the government on the closure of schools for two more months.