Sindh decides against early closure of schools

Final decision by federal, provincial education ministers to be taken on Nov 23

Statesman Report

KARACHI: The Sindh Education and Literacy Department has decided not to close schools for the time being or have any winter vacations at all this year, it emerged after key stakeholders in the provincial education sector met here on Saturday with Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani in the chair.

However, schools that wish to move their educational activities online have been allowed to do so.

Ghani said after the meeting that the Sindh Education Department's decision represented the province's position and that a national decision on the matter would ultimately be taken on November 23, when representatives of all provinces are to meet and debate the issue.

It was further decided in the meeting that students will not be promoted again without them sitting for examinations. 

Meeting to deliberate safety measures

The provincial education department's Steering Committee had met here on Saturday to deliberate upon coronavirus safety measures recommended by the National Command and Operations Center (NCOC) in view of the surging new cases of COVID-19.

Setting aside the NCOC's recommendation for calling winter vacations early this year and extending them till January, it was decided by the Steering Committee that coronavirus safety standard operating procedures would instead be implemented strictly in schools to avoid a breakout of the disease among children.

All stakeholders who attended the meeting agreed on not closing schools for the time being or allow winter vacations in the province this year.

It was further decided that promotions to higher classes would only be done after examinations. The meeting's participants were also of the view that the syllabus announced for the ongoing year should not be reduced any further.

The NCOC will be informed of the decisions taken in the meeting.

The meeting was attended by the secretary schools, the secretary colleges and the chairmen of various boards of education.

"The federal government wants that children are educated at home from November 25 till December 24, and then vacations are announced from December 25 till January 10," Ghani said after the meeting.

"During this period, parents will take homework from the schools on a weekly basis."

"There is no doubt that COVID-19 cases are rising and the positivity rate has gone to 3.7% in the past few days," Ghani said.

However, he said that Sindh had cleared its position on the issue and a final decision will be taken after consultation between the provinces.