All educational institutions across districts in Punjab with a high COVID-19 positivity rate will remain closed until April 11, announced Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mehmood on Wednesday.

Addressing a press conference after a meeting of the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), the federal education minister said that the decision to keep the institutions closed was taken in the wake of a spike in the coronavirus cases across Pakistan.

He said the schools will remain closed in at least 9 districts of Punjab besides Islamabad, adding that the provincial government will decide on reopening of schools in the light of the coronavirus cases in the respective districts.

“We have seen that the number of cases in Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, and Azad Kashmir has increased,” he said, adding that the number of infections is relatively less in Sindh, Balochistan, and Gilgit-Baltistan.

Exams in June-July

The meeting decided that examinations of Matric and Intermediate students will take place in June-July, and students will not be promoted to without exams. Meanwhile, the minister said he will meet the Cambridge International Examination (CIE) board later in the day to discuss the postponement of O and A-Level exams.

The federal minister said that the next meeting of the education and health ministers will be held on April 7 to review the whole situation.

Following the press conference of Mahmood, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas shared names of the districts where schools and colleges will remain closed for another 15 days.

Meanwhile, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government has also decided to keep the educational institutions closed till April 11 in the wake of the growing infections.

On Sunday, Shafqat Mehmood had said that the health of students, teachers, and educational staff is of “prime consideration” to the government.

Students across the country had been urging the education minister to cancel physical exams, and awaiting the decision of the NCOC meeting. Ahead of the announcement, “#CancelExamsPakistan2021” became the top trend on Twitter in Pakistan.


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