KARACHI: Sindh's secondary schools will not reopen on September 21 as was scheduled earlier, the provincial education minister, Saeed Ghani, said Friday, adding that the resumption has now been delayed by at least a week.
A fear of coronavirus spreading across schools has forced sixth, seventh, and eighth-graders to stay back home as educational institutes have failed to enforce safety protocols, Ghani said.
The provincial minister noted that students from sixth, seventh, and eighth grades would now be asked to rejoin school on September 28 only if the COVID-19 situation improved.
"Our purpose is not to shut down schools permanently [...] We simply seek for them to mend their ways when we see them not fulfilling their responsibility," he said.
"They should follow through with the commitments made. Following safety protocols is not to be done for our satisfaction.
"Our children go to these schools. It is a question of their health and safety," he underscored.
The education minister said children's health could not be gambled away for the sake of saving losses incurred by schools and a loss of learning for kids that has accumulated since the outbreak.
The minister said the decision would be reviewed before September 28.
"I will get in touch with the federal ministers and will request a meeting of the inter-provincial education ministers committee so that a uniform decision is taken across the country," he added.
Meanwhile, Private Schools Action Committee Chairman Pervez Haroon slammed the decision to delay school reopening and demanded that Ghani resign from his post.
"Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Chief Minister Sindh Murad Ali Shah should enforce the decisions made by the National Command and Operations Centre and the federal government," he said.
Haroon said that the act of shutting down all schools wasn't justified due to the negligence of a "few". He claimed that several schools in Karachi were implementing the prescribed safety measures.
"An emergency meeting of the action committee has been called and a protest will be held at the Karachi Press Club on Tuesday," he said.
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