Federal Minister for Education and Vocational Training Shafqat Mahmood announced on Wednesday that schools and universities across the country will remain open, except for Sindh where they will remain closed at least until August 8.

The decision was announced after the Inter-Provincial Education Meeting Conference, which reviewed the issue of schools and universities’ closure, the Covid-19 situation, and vaccination of school teachers and other staff members.

All the provincial education ministers and Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan attend the meeting.

Mahmood added that students will get 5 per cent ‘extra marks’ in compulsory subjects in addition to the proportionate marks they acquire through the results of elective subjects.

Talking about Sindh’s decision to keep schools closed, Mahmood said provincial education minister Saeed Ghani has not decided on the issue yet. In Sindh, all exams were postponed after the imposition of a ‘partial’ lockdown on July 31. Sindh’s education department will announce new dates once the restrictions are lifted.

However, he noted that the federal government including Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Balochistan, Azad Kashmir have decided to open schools gradually with staggered classes.

“Educational institutes should ensure 50 percent of attendance,” he emphasised.

He asked schools and universities to accelerate their vaccination campaign. The minister reminded that vaccination in the higher education sector is falling behind others, and requested provincial education ministers to get university staff and students vaccinated on a priority basis.

“Transport staff working in the education sector should get vaccinated by August 31,” he said.

Talking about exams, Mahmood said that they will continue as per schedule.

The next meeting with the National Command and Operation Center to review the education sector’s decisions will take place on August 25.

“In the next meeting of the NCOC, we will review the health issues about the opening of schools and universities,” he added.

He told students to focus on studies and do not pay heed to speculations and rumours and only trust information shared by the ministry of education or provincial education ministers.

“Our decisions are focused on ensuring your health and education,” he said, addressing students. “All decisions will be made with the best interest of students in mind.”

Last week, the government decided not to extend school summer vacation and stated that all schools would reopen on August 2.


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