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Pakistan’s Education Ministers Decide Against Extending Summer Vacations

by Newsweek Pakistan

File Photo. Hasham Ahmed—AFP

Meeting of Interprovincial Education Ministers Conference agrees to let provinces decide when to reopen their respective educational institutions in light of COVID-19 spread

A meeting of the Interprovincial Education Ministers Conference on Wednesday decided against extending summer vacations of schools and colleges, retaining the earlier announced reopening date of Aug. 2.

Chaired by acting federal Education Secretary Asif Haider, and attended by all provincial education ministers via video-link, including a representative from Gilgit-Baltistan, the meeting also decided to maintain the previously issued schedule for board examinations, adding that there would be no further delays.

Earlier, the Punjab government had recommended extending summer vacations till Aug. 15 in view of the ongoing fourth wave of coronavirus and the summer heat. However, the forum rejected this proposal and advised all educational institutions to adopt precautionary measures and ensure compliance with standard operating procedures to curb the spread of the virus.

Instead, it was decided, all federating units would have the authority to decide whether or not they needed to extend summer vacations in view of the coronavirus spread in their governing territory. The meeting’s participants said that schools in districts with high positivity ratios could be reopened at a later date than Aug. 2.

According to sources, the participants of the meeting said they would no longer compromise on education, as students had suffered greatly since the pandemic first hit Pakistan last year.

The National Command and Operation Center on Thursday reported Pakistan’s coronavirus positivity ratio as 7.5 percent, with Sindh standing at 13.1 percent and Pakistan-administered Kashmir at 23.98 percent. Sindh capital Karachi has emerged as the epicenter of the ongoing fourth wave of the pandemic, reporting positivity in excess of 20 percent over the past week.

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