Edu minister reaffirms re-opening of educational institutes conditioned with virus spread

ISLAMABAD-Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (FE&PT) on Friday re-affirmed that re-opening of the educational institutions from 11th of the current month is conditioned with the virus spread indicators in the country.

A group of representatives of private schools associations held a meeting with the Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood and demanded to open the private schools from January 11 at any cost.

The group of representatives of the private schools associations comprised Afzal Babar, Malik Abrar Ahmed, Chaudhry Ubaid-ullah, Nasir Mehmmod and Abrar Ahmed Khan.

The representatives of the private schools associations stressed upon re-opening of the schools from January 11 and tabled their demands before the minister.

A statement released by the ministry said that federal minister Shafqat Mahmood informed the private schools that closure of educational institutions was a difficult decision and 2020 remained tough for the education sector.

He informed the delegation that the Ministry of FE&PT does not take any decision individually, in fact the decision is taken reviewing the data provided by the Ministry of National Health Services (NHS) and its recommendations.

The minister also informed the delegation about the presence of a new variant of the coronavirus in the country which has more intense spread than the previous COVID-19 virus.

Minister Shafqat Mahmood informed the delegation that the ministry in the Interprovincial Education Ministries Conference to be held on January 04 will decide on extending examination dates from the month of March to complete the courses.

“Keeping the situation in view the ministry has also considered reducing the summer vacations of students,” said the minister.

He said that the issue of starting the academic year from April to August will be also discussed in the meeting to be held on January 11.

Minister Shafqat Mahmmod added that all provincial education ministers will hold meetings with their respective private schools associations and present their case in the meeting.

“We will try our best to re-open the educational institutions and give good news in this regard,” remarked the minister.

The federal minister also informed the delegation about the steps being taken by the government to help the low income private schools.

Minister Shafqat Mahmmod said that a financial package of interest free loans has been prepared by the government about which the Prime Minister has been also informed. He said that the financial package is in the Ministry of Finance currently.

 Supreme Council Private Schools (SCPS) said that all associations have decided to re-open the educational institutions from January 11 and the government must understand hardships of the private schools and take measures to resolve them. The SCPS had earlier announced re-opening of educational institutions from January 11 at any cost following the health standard operating procedures. It said that 80 per cent of students are deprived of getting online education.  

It said that closure of educational institutions has put the future of students at stake and government closed private schools which were implementing the SOPs.

The SCPS has said that hundreds of schools have been closed due to the financial constraints and long closure and hundreds will be closed in future as well. 

It also demanded to suspend registration fees and taxes for one year for the private schools to provide them financial relief. SCPS also said that all other businesses are on the run while the government only closed schools which brought academic and financial damage to students and administration. 

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