Corona Virus: Pakistan announces closure of educational institutions for one month from November 26

Pakistani government has announced the closure of educational institutions for a month from November 26 and the winter holidays in educational institutions from December 25 to January 10 following the second wave of corona virus in the country.

According to Pakistan's Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood, winter vacations across the country will be from December 24 to January 10, and then we will reopen the educational institutions reopen on January 11 2021 provided if conditions are improved.

Shafqat Mehmood said that online educational activities can be continued from November 26 to December 24 and those institutions which do not have this facility will have homework.

According to the Federal Minister of Education, all the examinations scheduled for December have also been postponed which will be held in January next year.

Shafqat Mahmood said that the situation of corona virus would be reviewed in the first week of January after which all educational institutions would be reopened on January 11.

It is to be noted that the number of corona virus cases in Pakistan has increased to a dangerous level and the rate of positive cases has reached 7.46%.

The rate of positive cases in educational institutions are on the rise. There have been a 1.8% to 3.3% increase after which the government decided to close educational institutions.

The corona virus increased the burden on teachers

All Pakistan's Private Schools Association is not happy with the government's decision saying the closure of schools are compromising on the future of millions of children.

According to the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC), the number of critically ill patients has doubled in the past two weeks, with an average of 35 deaths per day in the past week.

The number of cases in educational institutions has increased by 82% and the rate of positive cases has increased from 1.8% to 3.3%.

The rate of positive cases in vaiorus cities of Pakistan have been observed to be 11.45%, in Pakistan-administered Kashmir 7.73% in Balochistan , 5.23%, in Gilgit  and 8.09% in Islamabad.

The Federal Minister for Education said that the examinations to be held in December have been postponed till mid-January but during this period only pre-announced admission or job entry tests can be taken.

According to him, the board exams which were to be held in March, April 2021 will be held in May and June while the new academic year can be started in August by limiting the summer vacations.

Concerns of Sindh government

Sindh Education and Labor Minister Saeed Ghani has opposed the closure of all educational institutions. Presenting his position at the NCOC meeting, he said that children would not be promoted in the next classes without examinations this year.

The Federal Mimister for Education said that all the universities will continue their online education, only PhD students can be placed in the universities but it will be decided by the universities themselves.

Shafqat Mahmood disagreed on putting childrens' lives in danger and putting any kind of compromise on childrens' health in the current situation. Endangering children lives is not an option he said.

Shafqat Mahmood said that as long as the study from home continues, they will decide to call the teachers as per the need. However, students will be barred from entering there.

Special Assistant Dr. Faisal said that some entrance exams like MD CAT etc. which are for entry, will continue as usual as their SOPs, And it is possible to manage with a mask.

He said that the epidemic rate has gone up to more than 7%, important decisions are needed at this juncture, otherwise the spread of the epidemic will put pressure on the health system. According to him, the situation demands that steps be taken to stop the spread of the epidemic.

'Students are completely safe in schools'

The All Pakistan Private Schools Association has expressed disappointment over the government's decision. President Kashif Mirza appealed to the Prime Minister, Chief Justice, Army Chief, Chief Ministers and Governors to allow schools to remain open under SOPs.

He suggested that the micro lockdown option be used for schools as well.

Kashif Mirza said that according to the UN, UNICEF, UNESCO and World Bank advisory, schools in Corona should also be kept open, as closing schools would cause more damage.

According to a Gallup poll, 87% of parents want their children to go to school. According to the survey, the epidemic has affected the education of more than 70 million students.

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