Govt Considering reopening of schools under Strict SOPs
Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood on Tuesday said the government is planning on reopening education institutions under strict standard operating procedures (SOPs) despite the rising number of Coronavirus cases in the country.
Mahmood said a meeting with the health ministry had also been planned to discuss the matter. Moreover, the government is also in contact with the United Nations Children Education Fund (Unicef) to share techniques and tools on reopening of schools.
The proposals on reopening education institutions including schools and madrassas have been shared with the provincial governments, Azad Jammu and Kashmir and Gilgit-Baltitstan administrations, he said.
Quoting a recent survey conducted by Gallup Pakistan, he said 70 per cent of the parents whose kids attend schools want the government to reopen education institutions. However, he said the parents have called on the government to ensure strict SOPs are in place before taking any decision.
The government has gone back and forth with its decision on whether to open the schools or keep them closed. However, students, parents and schools are all wondering when would it be safe again for schools to reopen. Some fear it may take another six months as the Covid-19 is showing no signs of a slowdown.
Earlier, after consultations with private schools and parents, the government decided to promote students to their next grades without taking their exams. The kids studying in classes one to eight were promoted without appearing in examination. However, those appearing in secondary and higher school systems were promoted based on their last results.
The decisions regarding education-related policies are in the provincial domain under the Constitution. Despite overtures from the federal government to reopen schools, Sindh Provincial Minister Saeed Ghani on Tuesday said there is no plan of reopening schools in the province yet. He said the provincial government is looking at all options as the number of cases continue to rise across the country especially Sindh.
On the other hand, the Sindh government on Tuesday said it would conduct online classes at all government schools for classes six to 12.
A notification issued by the Education Department, Sindh said “online classes will be held for grades 6-12.” The initiative will be launched with help from the Unicef and Microsoft.
Under the initiative, Microsoft will train around 75 teachers in online education to teach children virtually.
The Sindh government also allowed private schools to teach kids online.