ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood on Monday said that all schools across the country will remain closed until January 10, 2021, in the wake of the rising coronavirus cases.
“All ministers have mutually decided that to keep all educational institutions, including schools, colleges, universities, and tuition centres closed. However, online classes will continue from November 26 to December 24 after which winter break will start. Schools will reopen on January 11, 2021,” Shafqat Mahmood said.
The decision has been made during the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) convened to discuss school closures.
Minister Shafqat Mahmood said that children’s health and safety is the top-most priority of the government, adding that examinations scheduled to take place in December will be postponed, with the exception of a few professional exams.
During the meeting, it was decided that micro-decisions regarding examinations and other matters will be taken by the respective provinces.
Punjab schools to promote students based on homework
Meanwhile, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas said that schoolchildren in Punjab will be promoted to the next classes based on their homework.
He also added that Punjab Board exams, which are held in March, will now be conducted in May and June 2021.
The minister also said that while schools will remain closed, teachers will have to go to schools twice a week, i.e. on Mondays and Thursdays to ensure that the quality of homework is up to the mark.
Regarding the closure of schools, Murad Raas said that he is not in favour of closing schools, but the decision has been taken unanimously by all the provincial education ministers.
“If schools are being closed to protect children, then parks, shopping malls, and other recreational places should also be closed as well,” he said.
No promotion without exams in Sindh
However, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said that no student will be promoted to the next class without examinations this year, adding that a decision regarding the dates of class 9th, matric, and intermediate exams is yet to be taken.
During the meeting, the minister had suggested that instead of closing all schools in the province, only primary schools — which have 75% enrolment — should be closed, while children from class 6th and above should continue to go to school.
However, Federal Education Minister said that schools across the country should remain closed for the specified duration without exception.
When we say all educational institutions will close on Nov 26 and students will home learn, we mean ALL institutions without exception
— Shafqat Mahmood (@Shafqat_Mahmood) November 23, 2020
The Balochistan government had already announced early and extended winter vacations last week.