Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani has confirmed that classes from grade 1 till grade 8 at the schools and classes at the varsities will resume in the province on February 1. However, all the educational institutions will be bound to call 50 per cent of the students on one day and the other 50 per cent the next day.
He was speaking to the media after the meeting of the school education and literacy department’s (SELD) steering committee on Friday. He also made this clear that the students would not be promoted to the next grades without exams as 60 per cent of the course would be completed after the reopening of educational institutions.
Earlier, it was decided during the meeting that a sub-committee functioning under the SELD’s steering committee would present its report on the current situation as well as about the next academic year, examination schedule and holidays in a meeting to be held on January 30.
The January 30 meeting would also finalise a plan to conduct census of all the private schools so that the accurate number of students, teachers and schools could be documented. Ghani said last year a comprehensive academic plan was made, but due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the curriculum was reduced to 40 per cent. “This year, all the stakeholders have decided to conduct exams. They also agreed that 60 per cent of the courses will be completed which is mandatory for conducting exams.”
All the educational institutions will open on February 1. However, the students will attend their respective classes in two groups on alternate days. The minister stressed that all the educational institutions needed to fully implement the Covid-19 standard operating procedures.
The issue of the financial crisis being faced by private educational institutes, especially the low-fee private schools, due to the pandemic was also discussed in the meeting. “We know the financial difficulties of small private schools. The federal government should provide them interest-free loans as industries and other businesses were financially supported,” Ghani said.
Responding to a question, Ghani said the Sindh government was committed to resolving the problems of the SELD on a priority basis. The procedure of appointing competent officers has been started, he claimed. He said the 20 per cent concession in tuition fees that was announced during the lockdown had been withdrawn.
Regarding the restoration of student unions, he said the Sindh Assembly had already passed a resolution to restore the student unions. He added that the government wanted all the political parties to agree on the restoration of the student unions so that no one could use students for their political ambitions.