Sunday Nov 22 2020
Web Desk

Coronavirus in Pakistan: Education minister backs closing of schools from Nov 25

Web Desk
A student wears a protective mask maintaining safe distance along with others before entering a class, after government allowed reopening of schools from grade six to eight amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in Peshawar, Pakistan September 23, 2020. — Reuters/Files

ISLAMABAD: Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood on Saturday said that his ministry would propose the closure of schools from November 25 in the next meeting of the country's education ministers.

The Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) was held on Monday to review the worsening coronavirus situation in the country but could not take a decision regarding closure of schools and deferred the matter till next meeting.

Speaking in Geo News programme "Jirga", Shafqat Mahmood said: "A meeting of all the education ministers will be held on November 23."

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

"We are recommending online education," he said, adding that teachers will come to schools and will stay in touch with students.

Mahmood said that at those educational institutes where facilities for online education are not available, students would come to school one day and take their homework.

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

42 deaths in past 24 hours

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.

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.

‘Lives matter the most’

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

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

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

"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.

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.