Education, Health Ministers to review corona situation on Friday

ISLAMABAD, Nov 23 (APP): The Federal Government on Monday decided to close the educational institutions across the country from November 26 up to January 10 next year, in the wake of surge in pandemic COVID-19 cases.

The initiative was taken in the light of unanimous recommendations given by the Provincial Health Ministers and Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference
(IPEMC) during a meeting to review the pandemic situation at National Command and Operation Center (NCOC).

Addressing a press conference, Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood, along with Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Health
Dr Faisal Sultan, announced the formal closure of educational institutions across the country till January 10 next year.

Shafqat Mahmood pointed out that these institutions will remain closed from November 26 to December 24 while from 25th December to January 10 the winter vacations will be observed. “There will be no physical attendance of
students in any class” he added.

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He said the students of schools, colleges, universities, tuition centres will be free from attendance since they would continue studies from home. Students of vocational
educational institutions would continue their on-job training at vocational institutes, he
added.

The Minister said a special meeting would be convened to review the updated situation
of pandemic, prior to formal opening of the educational institutions on January 11 next
year.

The students, with online option, would continue their studies through this mode of education while those, with no online facility, will facilitated, under special policy, which will be introduced by the respective provincial governments, he added.

The minister also announced to cancel the exams to be taken in December, while the exams of assessment and recruitment would continue. There will be no promotion of students to next classwithout exams, he added.

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Shafqat Mahmood directed the Chairman Higher Education Commission to arrange online classes on urgent basis for the students of higher education.

The universities, he said, were allowed to permit PhD students and those from far-flung areas to stay at universities’ hostel so that their study may not affect. He further said that the universities will ensure compliance of strict COVID-19 SOPs for students residing at hostel.

He said the decision regarding attendance of teachers in the schools will be taken by the schools management.

Sharing details of recommendations taken at the IPEMC meeting, Shafqat said the exams,
scheduled for March-April next years, would now be taken in May-June 2021.

It was also recommended that the new academic year will commence in August, as earlier it
had to start in April. The summer vacations will be curtailed to lessen the eventual loss of
students.