Tuesday Aug 17, 2021
The health department briefs meeting about COVID-19 situation and suggests reopening schools with 50% attendance.
KARACHI: The Sindh Education Department's steering committee meeting was held today with Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah in the chair.
The steering committee meeting was convened to take a final decision on whether or not schools should be reopened from August 20 in the province.
Officials of the health department briefed the participants about the COVID-19 situation in the province and suggested that schools should be reopened with 50% attendance.
For the first time, representatives of the parents association were also invited to the meeting, the sources privy to the matter said.
Participants were of the view that educational institutions with 100% vaccination should be allowed to reopen. The majority of the participants said that schools should be reopened with strict adherence to COVID-19 SOPs.
Parliamentary Secretary on Health Qasim Soomro, representatives of parents and school unions were among the attendees of the meeting.
Earlier, Sindh Education Minister Syed Sardar Ali Shah had announced that schools will reopen after 10 days, on August 20.
Speaking at a press conference, the Sindh education minister was flanked by MPA Ismail Rahu.
"Students will not be allowed to carry their mobile phones inside the exam centres," he had said, adding that teachers and exam staff will also not be allowed to bring cellphones inside the centre.
Rahu had said that intermediate exams that had been postponed due to the lockdown will be taken from August 10, reiterating that the government will not allow cheating at any cost.
Announcing that schools will remain closed till August 19, Sardar Ali Shah had said the decision had been taken to facilitate students.
He had said that while the provincial government will monitor the coronavirus situation in the 10 days till August 19, schools will remain closed as students had difficulties commuting due to the Muharram processions.
"Processions are taken out across the provice from Muharram 7, which causes problems for students," he had said.
In response to a question, Shah said that it was important for the provincial government to review its syllabus. "We are still teaching children the miracles of the radio," he said. "Does anyone even have radio in their homes in this day and age?"
Shah said if public schools undergo reform and improve for the better, parents will never send their children to private schools.
"No parent wants to send his/her children to private schools for additional fees," he said.
In response to a question, Shah said the Sindh government will try to ensure that there aren't major differences between the decisions taken by the provincial government and the centre.
He said the Sindh government will also minotor and check whether school staff members and teachers get themselves vaccinated or not.