ISLAMABAD: Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood on Friday clarified that educational institutions would be reopened on Sept 15.
Some private school associations have been making announcements about opening of schools causing confusion among parents and students. However, the minister made it clear that all educational institutions will reopen on Sept 15 after reviewing the Covid-19 situation.
He said a conference of the inter-provincial education ministers will be held on Sept 7 to discuss Covid-19 standard operating procedures (SOPs) for educational institutions and to further see possibilities of opening the institutions on Sept 15.
Addressing a press conference about his ministry’s two-year progress, the minister said many initiatives were launched during the period.
About introducing a uniform education system in all private and public schools and religious seminaries, the minister said the Single National Curriculum (SNC) had been developed with the support of 400 experts and now the ministry was in the process of getting books published.
Provincial education ministers to discuss SOPs for schools on Sept 7
He said from April next year, the SNC will be introduced across the country at the primary level. Later, it will be introduced from class sixth to eighth before launching the final phase from grade 9 to 12 in 2023.
The minster also spoke about the details of a project designed to facilitate registration of madressahs through an exclusive directorate of the education ministry.
Religious seminaries would not only get themselves registered with the especially created directorate of the ministry but will also impart contemporary education to their students under the SNC.
He said the current year remained challenging for the ministry as educational institutions were closed abruptly due to the Covid-19 outbreak. He, however, said to mitigate the suffering of students, the ministry had launched a tele-school project, which was providing online education to millions of students.
He said students of higher education faced problems because of the unreliable internet facility and the government was set to provide them internet facilities.
The minister also shared with the media details of policies and projects launched by Higher Education Commission (HEC) to improve the higher education sector. He said on the direction of Prime Minister Imran Khan, focus was also being paid on skill development. He said a national skill development programme had been launched and 170,000 students were being given skill education. He said a scholarship programme to benefit 1,000 nurses had also been launched.
The minister said a four-year Bachelor of Studies (BS) programme had been launched to ensure graduates leave with an appropriate combination of competencies.
Mr Mahmood also spoke about various scholarships, including Ehsaas Programme, and technology-based initiatives started by attached departments of the education ministry.
He highlighted the National Education Plan 2020, saying in the first 100-day of the government, National Education Policy Framework 2018 was launched which identified four challenges - improving quality in education, enrollment of out of school children (OSC), imparting skill development and uniform education.
“Keeping in view these priorities, National Education Plan 2020 has been formulated and approved by the cabinet. It gives an implementation mechanism to address education challenges and fulfil our national and international commitments towards educational targets,” he said.
About projects regarding schools in Islamabad, he said out of the 11,000 out of school children, 7,000 had been enrolled. Moreover, seven new schools are being set up in the capital after a gap of nine years, he added.
Published in Dawn, August 22nd, 2020