SAEED Ghani speaks at the press conference.
SAEED Ghani speaks at the press conference.

KARACHI: While imposing a ban on teaching in all education institutions of the province, Sindh Minister for Education Saeed Ghani has allowed all private schools that wanted to reopen from June 1 to go ahead and do so.

“We have not stopped private educational institutions from opening from Monday if they want, but we have stopped the teaching process and no school can start teaching without the government’s permission,” said the minister during a press conference called at his camp office in Clifton on Sunday.

On the occasion he also explained that this year all students from classes one to eight will be promoted to the next level without exams and those who were failing will also be given passing marks.

“There will be no special exams this year and the students who want to improve their grades in various subjects will be given the opportunity to sit for the exam next year,” he said.

Failing students will also be promoted to next class

He also said that he had already announced promotion of students of classes one to eight and later students of classes nine to 12 after getting it clarified by a sub-committee of the steering committee of the education department. “The steering committee formulated its recommendations during two to three of its meetings and we will convene another meeting soon. According to the recommendations, as we have no record of the ninth and 11th graders, they will be promoted to the next level without any marks and when they sit for the exams of 10th, 11th and 12th the marks obtained there will be considered as the marks for the classes they didn’t take exams for. These students will be promoted to the next classes based on their results of class nine and 11 with 3 per cent extra marks also added to the marks obtained by them,” the minister explained again.

Saeed Ghani said that the same rules would also apply to private students. Asked about the announcement of opening of educational institutions on June 1 or 15 by the associations of private educational institutions, he said they may do so if they want but there can be no teaching there. He added that the Sindh government as yet doesn’t have a set date for the reopening of institutions for teaching and the decision for it will be taken after reviewing the situation and formulating an education policy in the steering committee. “In the current situation, I don’t think any parents would want to send their children to school,” he said.

Sugar scandal

The minister, who also holds the portfolio for labour, said that for the last several days the PTI has started a propaganda against the PPP and the PML-N in the name of sugar scandal. He said that all the things in the Sugar Scandal Commission should be subsidised. “The tax was collected, a JIT was set up and all inquiries were completed and references were made. If all this has happened in the past, we ask the prime minister and his cronies why was this commission formed?” he said.

“According to the TORs of this commission, there was an increase in sugar prices in 2018-19 and 2019-20. As a result of this more than Rs300 billion was to be taken out of the pockets of the people,” he said, adding that the main reason for the increase in sugar prices in the report of this commission was to import one million tonnes of sugar and later to allow another 100,000 tonnes. And this was the responsibility of the cabinet headed by the prime minister.

“There were decisions made in the commission and it is because of this permission that the price of sugar has gone up,” he said.

Mr Ghani said that the prime minister had constituted the commission on Feb 20 and submitted its report on March 9. After that, it should have been acted upon, but since the report included all the ‘ATMs’ in the report of this commission, the drama has started.

“I ask NAB why it does not see this Rs300 billion corruption and why it did not take action against Imran Niazi and his ATM after the commission’s report?” Mr Ghani said.

He said that the “nexus between NAB and Niazi” was not to eradicate corruption but to eradicate the opposition and it has now been proved that to save these ‘ATMs’ they must go against PPP and PML-N.

Saeed Ghani said that whether it is a matter of increase in prices of medicines, increase in gas prices, permission to import medicines from India, permission to import sugar, all these decisions were taken in the cabinet meeting chaired by the prime minister. “They approve and then pretend to investigate,” he said, adding that this “incompetent” elected government had taken as many loans during the last one year as the PPP had not taken during its five-year tenure.

Responding to a question, he said that all the decisions of the prime minister are for his own investors.

In reply to another question, he said that if NAB had to show its neutrality, it would have to immediately take Rs300 billion against those who robbed the people by making sugar expensive.

Answering another question, he said that at present overseas Pakistanis are also suffering due to the policies of the present “incompetent” government and the PIA is charging them three times more for bringing them back.

On a question about the PIA plane crash, he said that there is kind of dictatorial system prevalent in PIA and the pilot of the plane was being made to stay on duty for 22 to 23 hours contrary to international rules, and at present under the SOPs during the coronavirus pandemic.

“A person over 50 years of age has to be most careful. PIA has contracted pilots of over 60 years of age. They are hiring them and if anyone raises a voice against it, the agency will take action. Therefore, restrictions have been imposed on associations in PIA so that no one can raise their voice,” he said.

Replying to another question, the minister said that if there is an economic emergency, it should be in the federation. “What the Sindh government is doing at the moment is better than all the other provincial governments and the federal government itself,” he said.

Published in Dawn, June 1st, 2020