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September 27, 2020

Private schools’ associations assure Ghani SOPs to be followed

Karachi

September 27, 2020

Sindh Minister for Education and Labour Saeed Ghani on Saturday presided a meeting of various associations of private schools to discuss the implementation of standard operating procedures (SOPs) and preparations for commencing educational activities at schools.

The meeting was attended by School Education and Literacy Department Secretary Ahmed Bakhsh Narejo, Private Schools Director General Mansoob Siddiqui and others.

Ghani said the education department had clearly issued instructions to all the public and private educational institutions to fully implement the SOPs; however, some of the private educational institutions violated the rules and invited small children of the pre-primary and primary levels to school, prompting the education department to take strict action against the owners.

He said if the administrators of schools did not comply with the government’s rules, strict action would be taken against them.

The education minister requested the heads of the private schools to assist the government in the implementation of the SOPs. He asked the associations to keep a close check on their constituent schools.

If any of the private school associations found that a certain school was not following the SOPs, they must inform the relevant authorities about it, Ghani said.

Representatives of the associations of private schools said their constituent schools were fully prepared to follow and implement the SOPs issued by the government. They added that they had circulated a clear message to all their members to strictly adhere to the rules and the SOPs.

Some of the participants informed the minister that they had developed a monitoring system so that the safety of children could be ensured. The minister lauded efforts made by the private schools’ associations and said that the cooperation of school administrations, parents and officials was important during the pandemic situation.

Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) issued a statement in which APPSF President Kashif Mirza said the government should provide financial assistance to those parents who had suffered due to the COVID-19 pandemic. He also demanded of the government to compensate low-fee private schools so that they could enrol the children whose parents were not able to pay monthly tuition fees.

The federation, the statement said, would make sure that all its member schools were following the SOPs.

A day earlier, Ghani had addressed a news conference in which he clarified that the pre-primary, primary and middle school classes across Sindh would reopen on September 28. He added that all the schools would be bound to follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs) and inform the students about two to three precautionary measures before starting their classes.

He said that if parents thought their children would not be safe, they had the choice of not sending them to school. Also, if owners thought that they should not reopen the schools, they also had the choice of doing so, the education minister explained.

"I have made clear statements several times regarding the opening of educational institutions but it seems that there is still some ambiguity," he said, adding that all the educational institutions from the nursery level to the university level will open from September 28 onwards.

Ghani said the Sindh government had only delayed the second phase of the reopening of schools which affected the sixth, seventh and eighth grades for a week. Now, the middle schools would reopen along with the primary schools on September 28, he explained.

He said that for the last 10 days, he and officers of the education department had been visiting public and private educational institutions on a daily basis.

The education minister requested the parents to tell their children to follow the SOPs. The parents should inspect their children's schools and their classrooms to ensure their owners are fully implementing the SOPs.

"We have left it up to the educational institutions to increase children's classes in their educational institutions, operate in different shifts or invite children in one-day shifts," he said.