HYDERABAD: Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani has said that the provincial government can revisit its decisions on opening of businesses and educational institutions if coronavirus resurges and can even take “hard” decisions.
He told a press conference at Shahbaz Hall on Saturday after visiting several colleges and schools that the government preferred children’s life and health and their education could not be imparted at the cost of their health.
He said the government had issued standard operating procedures (SOPs), detailing responsibilities of parents, students, transporters and educational institutions, for opening of schools and colleges in the wake of Covid-19.
He said that with phased opening of schools the government wanted to check whether SOPs could be implemented for a limited number of students. If it was successfully done then the government could further increase number of students, he said.
He had observed in his visits to different cities that SOPs were being implemented regarding use of sanitisers and masks in some schools and colleges but at a few places the situation appeared unsatisfactory, he said.
Ghani said if the SOPs could not be implemented even for 20 students then it raised questions as to how the procedures could be followed for 50 to 100 students.
He said the government had extended the date for opening of middle schools in the wake of recent emergence of positive cases of coronavirus. Every province was free to take its decisions in the light of its policies, he said.
He said that during routine tests, 91 cases were found positive out of 14,500. One more school was sealed in Karachi because two teachers tested positive for the virus there, he said.
He said that Sindh government was strictly monitoring Covid-19 situation which had affected every sector of life including education. The government did realise that private schools and colleges had suffered greatly and they were finding it hard to survive but the government preferred children’s health over their education and was ready to face the ire of private schools’ owners because of this decision, he said.
He said that nobody could be more sensitive than parents to children’s well-being. When adults did not follow SOPs how could a child be expected to be more responsive to them, he said, adding that the government had tried its level best to ensure SOPs’ implementation and remained successful to a great extent.
He said that cases of coronavirus were increasing around the world and the situation had fully reversed at some places.
The minister said that National Command and Operation Centre would discuss the situation and take a decision with regard to Covid-19.
About the planned multiparty conference, he said that all opposition parties would attend the conference against the federal government and hoped the forum would provide opportunity for better consultation. This government had not performed at all and it appeared the time for a mass movement was nearing, he said.
He said the president and Sindh governor had discussed building new cities in Sindh on islands but they must know that they did not have such authority. The Sindh government owned every inch of the province’s land and no decision could be taken without its consent.
MPA Abdul Jabbar Khan, Commissioner Abbas Baloch and Deputy Commissioner Fuad Soomro were also present at the news conference.
Published in Dawn, September 20th, 2020