- Shafqat Mehmood says well-being of youngsters is government’s highest importance.
- Ninth, Matric and Intermediate examinations will be conducted as per the timetable declared by the boards.
- Govt to organize a conference with Cambridge International Exams to verify whether an alter in examinations plan is likely or not.
ISLAMABAD: Schools in Pakistan that are in coronavirus flashpoint regions will remain closed till April 11, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood revealed Wednesday.
He was talking to the media after a crucial meeting of education and health ministers at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) to make a decision on the closure of schools during a shocking ascent of coronavirus cases in the country.
The amount of COVID-19 active cases has expanded to double in the last three weeks while the positivity ratio has lingered above 8% in the last few days. Corresponding to the NCOC data, the number of active cases was 17,352 on March 6 which attained 36,849 on Wednesday.
Mehmood told that the administration will hold a discussion with the Cambridge exams board to see whether exams can be delayed or not.
Board exams of classes nine to 12 will be conducted as per the timetable, he said.
We have noticed that the number of cases in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Kashmir has risen, he said. “The number of infections is comparatively less in Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Balochistan,” Mehmood told.
The education minister said keeping in view the coronavirus position, the provincial governments will determine the districts where educational institutes will keep on closed.
Mehmood said the government is aware of the fact that the shutting of educational institutes is affecting the schooling of children. Though, he said the wellbeing of children is main concern.
The federal minister told that the subsequent meeting of the education and health ministers will be conducted on April 7 to examine the whole state of affairs.
Third wave is severe: Shafqat Mehmood
On Sunday, Mehmood took to his Twitter account and retold the crowds that the third wave of the coronavirus is severe, therefore, it needs careful review.
“All education/health ministers will meet Wednesday, March 24, at the NCOC to take a decision regarding opening or further closure of educational institutions,” the minister penned.
“The health of students, teachers, [and staff is of] primary concern.”
‘High risk of COVID-19 spread in schools’
In another statement on Monday, Mehmood said that he was not in support of closing of educational institutions but the NCOC considered that there’s a elevated probability of coronavirus in schools.
“50 million children are associated with education and if someone got contaminated, the disease would propagate,” he said.
It is important to mention that schools, colleges and universities were permitted to continue routine classes from March 1 but the Sindh government did not adhere to suit saying the condition has not improved.
On March 10, the federal government had declared a two-week Spring Break in Islamabad, Peshawar and seven Punjab cities where the positivity was elevated and enforced curbs to manage the spread.
The health officials have cautioned that the UK variant, which has inflicted chaos in Punjab and the federal capital, spreads more rapidly and is more lethal.
Restrictions on business, public transport
In view of a rise in coronavirus cases in the country, the NCOC on Monday released revised standard operating procedures (SOPs) to suppress the virus, saying that these would be applied with direct effect.
As per the additional regulations, all businesses will only be permitted to operate five days a week, while all commercial pursuits will be shut by 8:00pm in areas with a positivity ratio higher than 8%.
The forum conveyed serious concern over the present COVID-19 situation in the country and unanimously approved to apply some high impact mediations in cities and districts with a high positivity ratio.