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June 27, 2020

Decision to reopen educational institutions on July 2: Shafqat Mahmood

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June 27, 2020

ISLAMABAD: Minister for Federal Education Shafqat Mahmood on Friday told the National Assembly that private schools were pressurising the government to open educational system.

The minister responding to speeches on cut motion relating to his ministry said so far the federal government did not take any decision to re-open government schools and other educational institutions but is facing pressure from the private schools in this connection.

He informed that a decision to re-open schools, which were closed on March 7 as a precautionary measure against spread of COVID-19 pandemic, would be taken at the inter-provincial conference of the education ministers on July 2.

It may be pointed out that during a briefing of the NCOC, Prime Minister Imran Khan was informed that cases of COVID-19 would increase in last two weeks ofJuly. There were reports that the government while succumbing to pressure of the private schools management, was contemplating to re-open educational institutions from July 15.

“We are facing heavy pressure from the private schools management to re-open schools but health of our children is our first priority,” the minister for federal education admitted on floor of the National Assembly on Friday adding that any decision would be taken after thorough consideration.

At start of his speech, the minister said that words of Khatam-un-Nabiyeen would be written with the Holy name of the Holy Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) in text books. He said it was the inter-ministerial conference, which decided to promote students to next grade but there were also legal implications while doing so.

Speaking on issue of online classes, Shafqat Mahmood said that availability of internet was a problem. “The prime minister will soon announce a plan for availability of network and connectivity saying that in some areas, local areas network would be established.

He informed the House that there would be uniform syllabus in all the Madaris, private and government schools from grade one to five. Earlier, speaking on cut motions Maulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali of Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) said there should be uniform system of education in private and government schools.

He pointed out that the parents prefer to get their children admitted to private schools because low standard of education in government educational institutions. The JI member who was elected from Chitral questioned as to how students could benefit from online classes when there was no internet availability in his constituency. He pointed out that mobile companies earn crores of rupees but they have failed to provide better facilities.

Ms Romina Khurshid Alam observed that state in Pakistan failed in fulfilling its responsibilities with regard to promotion of education sector. She regretted that the education sector became target of IMF and the government allocated no development fund for this sector for the fiscal year 2020-2021.