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ISLAMABAD: Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood chaired a meeting of the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) to decide the reopening of schools in the country.
According to reports, it has been decided to reopen schools in phases. In the first phase, Class 9-12 will be reopened from January 18. Classes 1-8 will be reopened from January 25 in the second phase, while higher education institutes and universities will be opened from February 1 the third and last phase.
Addressing a press conference after the meeting alongside Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Faisal Sultan, the federal education minister said they will not comprise on the health of children and it remains their primary concern,
He said that in the second phase, students of primary classes till grade 8 will start going to schools from January 25. The minister said that universities and other higher education institutions will reopen from February 1 in the third and last phase.
Mahmood said that the administration staff and teachers of educational institutions can resume their duties at schools, colleges and universities from January 11. He said online and home-based learning can be held from January 11.
The minister announced that board exams have been postponed till May and June as students did not have enough time to prepare for their exams. Mahmood said that another meeting will be held on January 14-15 by the education ministers to review the health situation in the country.
A day ago, Mahmood said it is unclear whether schools would be allowed reopen on January 11 as planned considering the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. He said the education ministry would consult with the health department before deciding on the matter.
It must be mentioned that the federal government, on the recommendation of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), had closed educational institutions 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 the decision. The final decision regarding the reopening of schools would be taken after advice from the health ministry on the matter.