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Govt in no position to announce date for reopening of schools, says Saeed Ghani

Karachi

May 30, 2020

It will not be workable plan to reopen schools in Sindh after issuing standard operating procedures (SOPs) for school education because the van service, which is used for the transportation of many students, provides no or very less opportunity of social distancing for the schoolchildren.

Sindh Education and Labour minister Saeed Ghani stated this while meeting a delegation of the Catholic Board of Education Karachi at his office on Friday. He informed the delegation that the government was not in the position to give any specific date for the reopening of the schools in Sindh and the final decision in this regard would be taken by the steering committee of the Sindh education department.

The steering committee would also decide on the start of the new academic year in the province, Ghani said. He said the provincial government at this stage could not take the risk of reopening the educational institutions owing to the rise in the COVID-19 cases.

He added that at the moment, the academic laws were being duly amended by the government to make provisions for the promotion of the students of grades 9 to 12 without appearing in the annual examinations of the educational boards.

The education minister said the provincial government was fully aware of the serious financial issues being faced by the private educational institutions during the lockdown and that was why it had repeatedly requested the parents to timely submit the monthly tuition fee.

He stated that the Sindh government at present lacked the capacity to provide interest-free loans or any other financial assistance to the cash-strapped private educational institutions and the federal government could provide any assistance in this regard.

Speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chairman of Catholic Board of Education Father Saleh Diego suggested that a set of SOPs be adopted for the reopening of schools, which would provide for holding of classes for a group of students on an alternate basis so that the schoolchildren could physically attend their classrooms at least twice a week.

He was of the view that only the physical presence of students would motivate their parents to pay the tuition fees on a regular basis. He said educational institutions affiliated with the Catholic Board of Education had been fully observing the government’s shutdown orders against the spread of the novel coronavirus.

He informed Ghani that the educational institutions under the aegis of the Catholic Board had been facing serious financial problems during the lockdown and they deserved financial assistance either from the Sindh or the federal governments. He asked the government to urge the parents to regularly pay the tuition fees of their children.