In the recent Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) Shafqat Mehmood announced that all schools in Pakistan will remain open. However, all educational institutions will remain closed in Sindh, especially Karachi, till August 8th.
The coronavirus cases in Karachi and Hyderabad are much higher as compared to other parts of the country. Therefore, it is not feasible to open schools in Sindh.
Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said the province will review the coronavirus situation before August 8. Then the government will decide the next course of action for reopening schools and conducting examinations.
On the other hand, Punjab, Gilgit-Baltistan, Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa will reopen schools with 50% attendance.
Universities and colleges will also open without any restrictions, but teachers are requested to get fully vaccinated by August 31. Unvaccinated staff will not receive their salaries.
Furthermore, all exams will take place as per schedule and students will receive 5% extra marks in compulsory subjects.
“The exams of classes 9, 10, 11, and 12 will take place in accordance with their date sheet,” Shafqat Mehmood said. “The IPEMC has decided the students would be given an additional 5% marks in exams as according to a research, the students get better marks in compulsory subjects,” he added.
Sindh previously suspended all exams after it imposed a lockdown in the province on July 31. As a result, it will announce an updated exam timetable later.
Shafqat Mehmood warns students
The decisions taken during the IPEMC meeting will remain in place until the next education-related meeting on August 25th.
Shafqat Mehmood also warned students to not pay attention to news on social media as there are a lot of rumors. Only the education ministry will dispatch authentic news.
The government initially took the decision to open schools in Punjab at the end of July. During the IPEMC meeting, Shafqat Mehmood asserted that schools will continue to remain open.
All Public & Private Schools of Punjab to open on August 2nd, 2021. Schools will open with staggered approach. 50% students in all classes on any given day. Details are in the attached Notification. Please follow COVID SOPs as issued by the Government. pic.twitter.com/UPzObxwhm4
— Murad Raas (@DrMuradPTI) July 29, 2021
Students’ reaction to the news
Students once again flooded Twitter with criticisms against the government’s decisions. According to students, going back to school will endanger their lives as Covid is once again at its peak in Pakistan.
According to one Twitterati, the government imposed a complete lockdown when the Covid rate was at 5%. However, when the rate is above 8% all over Pakistan and above 13% in Islamabad, the government is reopening schools.
Previously, students actively campaigned against Shafqat Mehmood by running various Twitter trends and conducting protests. Their antics garnered a firm response from Shafqat Mehmood who advised them to concentrate on exams instead of focusing on Twitter trends.