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ISLAMABAD, Jun 17 (APP):Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood Wednesday stressed the need for conducting virtual session of the Parliament instead of physical session, considering the risks of spreading coronavirus among more members.

Talking to a private news channel, he said opposition parties of Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan Muslim League-N were harming themselves and other lawmakers by opposing virtual session of the parliament in this situation of the pandemic.

He said the decision to convene parliament’s virtual or physical session will be finalize after the consensus of opposition parties but they still are not in favor of virtual session which is putting the lives of people on risk.

Parliaments around the world have adopted innovative ways and new online working methods to ensure they continue their essential work during the pandemic, he explained.

For instance, they can reduce the number of MPs sitting in plenary, proportionally to the parliament’s political composition, or use social distancing sitting arrangements.

He suggested that, “We should ensure all health SoPs in wake of the pandemic for safety of the parliamentarians and its supporting staff, adding, parliamentarians should set a better example for nation and conduct all virtual sessions”.

He said it would also convey an effective message to public about their representatives taking proper precautionary measures against the coronavirus.

He also stressed for coordinated efforts of the nation to fight the coronavirus pandemic effectively.

Replying to a question, he said as schools were closed due to the lockdown to combat the raging COVID-19 pandemic.

He said that the government was making efforts to keep education alive by offering classes million students via the Internet and TV channels.

“It was hard for us at the start, but parents are now quite satisfied to see that their children are actually having live contacts with teachers. It’s something that is boosting the moral and motivation of both teachers and parents in confinement,” minister said.

To another question regarding the budget of Higher Education Commission (HEC), he demanded to increase the budget of education as our education system is already facing numerous challenges which will be tackled through its increased funds.