Saturday Nov 21 2020
Web Desk

‘Lives matter the most’: Punjab education minister on schools' closure

Web Desk
A student wearing protective mask walks over the marks for safe distancing as schools reopen. — Reuters/Files

LAHORE: Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas said Saturday that he will take a "sensible" decision regarding the province's educational institutions, as lives mattered the most.

As the coronavirus cases rise and government mulls strategies to curb the virus' spread, the education minister said that he would make a decision based on data.

Pakistan recorded 42 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours — the highest since mid-July. This brought the country's death toll to 7,603.

Read more:  Close primary schools from Nov 24 to Jan 31, federal education ministry proposes

The country also reported the highest single-day tally in four months as 2,843 people tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number to 371,508.

"If I close the Schools people are not happy. If I keep the schools open people are not happy. Let me just inform everyone that decision will be made on DATA that is being given to me," Raas said in a tweet.

"Lives matter the most. Zero pressure on me from either side. Sensible decisions have to be made," the minister added.

Sindh against early schools closure 

Earlier in the day, the Sindh Education and Literacy Department decided not to close schools for the time being or have any winter vacations at all this year, it had emerged after key stakeholders in the provincial education sector met with Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani in the chair.

Read more: Ban on large gatherings in effect immediately

Ghani, after the meeting, said that the Sindh Education Department's decision represented the province's position and that a national decision on the matter would ultimately be taken on November 23, when representatives of all provinces are to meet and debate the issue.

It was further decided in the meeting that students will not be promoted again without them sitting for examinations.  

Close primary schools from Nov 24 to Jan 31

The Federal Ministry of Education, three days earlier, sent proposals to provinces suggesting them to close primary schools from November 24 to January 31, 2021.

Read more: Sindh Education Department says does not want winter break or early closure of schools

The ministry has proposed that primary schools should be closed from November 24, while middle schools should be closed from December 2.

However, the final decision will be made on November 23 when the provincial education ministers meet to reach a consensus on the closure of educational institutions.