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Pakistan educational institutions to reopen from 15th September

Islamabad: Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood Thursday said that the educational institutions in the country will be opened formally from September 15 under strict Standard of Opening Procedures (SOPs).

Addressing a press conference here after taking final decision in the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC) he said the government will review the health indicators in first and third week of August and before opening of educational institutions, the final meeting to review the current COVID-19 situation will be held in first week of September.

If the corona virus pandemic situation is not improving then the educational institutions will not be opened from September 15, he mentioned.

He said that all decisions to this affect were taken unanimously in the Inter Provincial Education Ministers Conference(IPEMC) in consultation with the all stakeholders.

He said that the educational institutions including madaris, public and private sector schools, colleges and universities would be opened from September 15 under strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

The provinces have given different suggestions regarding formulation of SOPs and they asked to send their written SOPs to the education ministry that will be finalized with consultation.

While giving briefing about the decisions taken in IPEMC meeting for opening of educational institutions, Shafqat said that universities, colleges and schools are being given permission to open their administration offices for necessary work and provision of training to their teachers regarding implementation on SOPs.

The Federal Government has given permission to provinces for opening of educational institutions under SOPs and now the final decisions will be taken by the educational institutions in consultation with the provincial governments, he added.

The Education Minister further said that the universities have been given permission to allow their PhD level students or those who want to do their research work in laboratories, can attend universities physically before 15th of September.

“The universities have been granted permission to allow the students of far-flung areas to attend their universities. Such students will live in hostels and their number should not exceed to 30 percent as a precautions.

The aim of this step is to mitigate the loss of students of remote areas in education during COVID-19 as they are unable to join online classes due to unavailability or poor internet facility in their areas. These students will be called after Eidul Azha under strict SOPs. The health check will be mandatory for such students and teaching faculties who will attend universities before September 15”, he remarked.

The provinces, he said, will ensure the implementation of SOPs in the private as well as public sector educational institutions.

Shafqat also told the media persons that all kind of educational institutions and recruitment institutions have been allowed to conduct their exams in maximum 2-5 days of starting. The universities have also been permitted to conduct admission exams under strict SOPs including six feet distance, ensuring wearing of face mask and the exams should be conducted in open air if possible, he added.

He warned of shutting down such educational institution that would not abide by the SOPs. The Federal and Provincial governments would look after the implementation of SOPs in the educational institutions, he maintained.

Talking about the vocational and technical training institutions, Education Minister said that those students who are getting on job training will be allowed to continue their training in industries, while the students who are getting training in classrooms can only attend their training class from opening of educational institutions by 15th of September.–APP

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