Pakistan’s education ministry to decide whether to reopen schools on Jan 4

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s federal and provincial education ministers will meet on January 4 to decide on when to reopen educational institutions which closed in November to try to curb new coronavirus infections.

According to the federal education ministry, the meeting will be chaired by Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood. It will be attended by other minister via video link.

According to the agenda of the conference seen by The Express Tribune, “the decision on reopening of educational institutions will be taken on the basis of health advisory keeping in view the prevailing coronavirus situation across the country.”

In the first phase, primary schools in both the public and private sectors would be reopened from January 25, 2021, while middle and secondary schools would start classes from February 4.

“Moreover, secondary and equivalent educational institutions were proposed to be reopened in the third phase. However, a specified date was not mentioned,” the newspaper said.

On November 23, the federal government had announced to shut all educational institutions from November 26 to December 24 due to a spike in COVID-19 cases.

“It has been decided to close all educational institutions across Pakistan from November 26 till December 24. Winter vacations will start from December 25 to January 10,” Shafqat Mahmood had announced at a press conference after a meeting of inter-provincial education ministers.

The schools were scheduled to reopen on January 11.

Pakistan reported 2,184 new cases on Saturday, and 82 deaths from the pandemic, with 35,130 active cases, according to a government portal. There have been 484,362 total cases in the country recorded so far, and 10,258 deaths, with 2,264 critical patients.

In the port city of Karachi, the coronavirus positivity ratio was the highest in the country at 15.77 percent, followed by Peshawar at 15.54 percent and Mirpur at 9.26 percent.

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