ISLAMABAD: The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training on Friday sought proposals from its attached and other concerned departments to discuss the option of opening educational institutions as the interprovincial education ministers will set to decide further closure or opening of the institutions at a meeting on July 2.

“The Ministry of Federal Education is conducting an internal exercise to firm up proposals for potential opening of educational institutions as a potential option. You [concerned departments] are to draw up plans for potential reopening of educational institutions under your jurisdiction,” read a letter issued by the education ministry on Friday.

It said the proposals should include a tentative date, detailed plans for opening i.e whether complete opening, staggered opening, alternate days etc., as well as detailed standard operating procedures (SOPs) to protect the students and staff from Covid-19.

Proposals submitted by different departments will be placed before provincial ministers on July 2

The ministry asked the concerned departments to furnish the proposals by June 23.

The letter said the government had closed all educational institutions in the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. As of now, educational institutions are closed till July 15.

“The interprovincial education ministers’ conference is scheduled for July 2 wherein the recommendations for further closure or opening of the institutions will be formulated before presentation at the National Coordination Committee (NCC),” said the letter.

The educational institutions were closed on March 15 due to the pandemic. During the lockdown period, many schools, colleges and universities introduced online classes but the students have been complaining of out of range or poor internet connectivity in many parts of the country.

Recently, students staged protest demonstrations outside the Higher Education Commission(HEC) buildings, demanding improvement or discontinuation of the online classes. They said in remote and far-flung areas students suffered the most because of no mobile signals what to talk internet connectivity.

For students from class 1 to12, the education ministry launched tele-school — a designated TV — which according to ministry officials had been providing good results.

The education ministers in their earlier meeting followed by NCC decisions had also decided to promote secondary and higher secondary school students on the basis of their previous year’s results. However, so far, the students have not been issued mark-sheets by the respective boards, causing unrest among the students, particularly those who wanted to get themselves enrolled in universities for BS programmes.

Speaking to Dawn, an official of the ministry said seeking proposals for departments to discuss the reopening of institutions did not mean that the ministry was going to decide opening of the schools.

“A decision will be made by the education ministers and a final approval will be given by the NCC. We sought proposals which will help the education ministers in taking a better decision,” the official said, adding the proposals will be placed before the ministers as received.

The letter is addressed to the directorsgeneral Federal Directorate of Education (FDE), which supervise 423 educational institutions in Islamabad, Federal Government Educational Institutions (FGEI), religious seminaries and the chairperson of the Private Educational Institutions Regulatory Authority (Peira) and others.

Published in Dawn, June 20th, 2020

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