ISLAMABAD: Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood on Tuesday announced that in-person classes till grade 8 will remain suspended till April 28 in districts where the COVID-19 positivity ratio is high.
The federal education minister was briefing media after an important meeting at the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) where the education and health ministers took stock of the pandemic situation in the country.
"The educational institutes will resume 9-12 classes from April 19 with strict SOPs in a staggered way even in the affected districts so that they can complete their course," he said.
He said that the provincial governments will take a decision to close schools where the situation is worsening.
He, however, clarified that all the board exams, including Cambridge, will be held as per schedule announced earlier by the respective authorities.
Shafqat Mehmood said that they have asked the universities to extend dates of their admission tests whereas the higher education institues in affected districts would continue with online classes.
“A meeting will be held on April 28 to once again review the situation and see whether the primary classes should remain suspended till Eid or can be resumed,” he said.
Board exams to be shifted to 3rd week of May
Regarding exams, Shafqat Mehmood said nearly 4 million students across Pakistan give exams for 9, 10, 11 and 12 grades. "Exams for 9, 10, 11 and 12 will be held," he said, adding that they will be shifted to the third week of May.
"The date sheet announced by the Punjab government in which exams were to be held on May 4, have been shifted to May 24 onwards," he said, adding that some exams will be held in even June and July as well.
The minister said universities will be asked to delay their admission tests as well since exams will be held later. He directed the Higher Education Commission (HEC) and universities to come to a solution over the matter.
The federal government had earlier shut all educational institutions in cities where the coronavirus positivity ratio was high till April 11.
In a statement on Sunday, Mehmood had said that education and health ministers will meet at the NCOC on April 6 (today) to decide whether to open or further close educational institutions.
The minister said that the exam situation will also be discussed during the meeting.
“Whatever is decided will be a collective decision of the country’s health and education authorities & NCOC,” he had said.
Students are staging protests in major cities demanding postponement of exams as in-person learning has been badly affected due to the closure of schools.
On the other hand, the Sindh government has suspended on-campus learning till class 8 from April 6 for 15 days, citing risks of the spread of COVID-19.
The provincial government has also suggested the Centre impose a ban on inter-provincial and air transport to control the third wave of coronavirus which has wreaked havoc in the last few weeks.
The third wave of coronavirus has wreaked havoc in the country with the daily caseload exceeding 5,000. The number of active cases has more than tripled in the last few weeks.
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