Students demand minister’s resignation

Published April 28, 2021
In this file photo, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV/File
In this file photo, Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood addresses a press conference in Islamabad. — DawnNewsTV/File

LAHORE: Students and social activists have begun an online campaign demanding the resignation of Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood for his failure to get the Cambridge Assessment International Education (CAIE) examination postponed.

O and A level students took to Twitter running a #ResignShafqatMahmood trend. They seek grades on the basis of teachers’ assessment and complete cancellation of the examination.

Eesha Batool tweeted, “I am extremely upset at this point. @Shafqat_Mahmood is being totally inconsiderate and must be sacked for what he has done”.

Rights activist Jibran Nasir also issues a statement in support of the students and said that the students had been protesting for weeks and also filed petitions in all high courts but no one listened to them.

He thanked Mr Mehmood for stopping the examinations. He, however, criticized the minister’s failure to convince the Cambridge Assessment International Education for teacher’s assessment.

He said the students would be left behind for six months if they would have to take examinations in October and November and they would not be promoted to the next grade.

He also tweeted “If #SAGs are not offered to #Pakistani students and @Shafqat_Mahmood makes them miss an entire session and waste 6 months falling behind all international students then @ImranKhanPTI must sack the Federal Education Minister for his monumental blunder to not cancel exams in time”.

Earlier, the minister announced that no examinations would take place in the country until June 15, amid a surge in coronavirus cases and deaths.

He also announced the postponement of O and A level exams being conducted from last week and said the exams would now take place in the October-November cycle while adding A2 exams were not canceled for those students who wanted to appear for the purpose of applying to foreign universities.

The minister also tweeted that the decision had been taken to address the “health concerns of students and parents ... all exams canceled till June 15 and depending on the spread of the disease may even go further”.

He said Cambridge exams had been postponed till October for all grades, while the only exception was for those A2 students “who have a compulsion to take [the] exam now”.

Meanwhile, the All Pakistan Private Schools Association also rejected the government’s decision to cancel all examinations till Eidul Fitr.

APPSA president Kashif Mirza said the government would have to fully implement the SOPs but it failed to do so.

He said the cancellation of exams would leave a drastic impact on the students’ future and they would lose six to seventh months to be promoted to the next class.

PUNJAB CLOSES SCHOOLS: The Punjab School Education Department (SED) on Tuesday announced closing all public and private schools in the province till Eidul Fitr due to increasing cases of coronavirus.

Minister for School Education Murad Raas tweeted “All Public and Private Schools in Punjab to be closed starting April 29, 2021, till Eid due to conditions of Covid-19. No exceptions.”

He also shared a notification from the school education department.

Published in Dawn, April 28th, 2021

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