The education ministers will hold an important meeting today to make a final decision regarding the reopening of schools which were closed in November to control the spread of the coronavirus in the country.
The Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC), scheduled at 11:30am, is expected to mull over the reopening of educational institutions in three phases.
The federal government, on the recommendation of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), had closed all the educational institutions including madrassahs from November 26, 2020 to January 10, 2021.
Under that plan, schools were to reopen on January 11. But the rising spread of the novel coronavirus across the country has cast a shadow on that decision with federal and provincial education ministers saying that it was “unlikely” educational institutions would be allowed to reopen.
Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood will chair the meeting while all the provincial ministers will attend the conference via video link. The final decision regarding the reopening of schools would be taken after advice from the health ministry on the matter.
The IPEMC will deliberate over the reopening educational institutions in phases. In the first phase, the primary level students would head back to school on January 25. The second phase would see middle schools reopening by February 4 and the higher education institutions would start by February 15 in the third phase.
It has been proposed to delay school and board examinations till the last week of May or early June. The summer vacations would be shortened with the new academic year beginning in August.