On Friday, Minister of Education Shafqat Mahmood revealed a revised timetable for the reopening of schools, according to which classes 9 to 12 will commence as scheduled from 18 January, while classes 1-8 will start from 1 February instead of 25 January.
As had been agreed in the previous conference, universities will reopen from February 1, he added.
After the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting, which was also attended by federal and provincial health and education ministers, Mahmood spoke at a press conference. In order to protect students and teachers, they addressed the ongoing wave of Covid-19, which is considered more deadly than the first and prompted the closing of educational institutions.
- Classes 1-8: Feb 1
- Classes 9-12: Jan 25
- Universities: Feb 1
Mahmood said during the press conference that high school students would not be advanced without tests this year, so it was agreed that their classes could resume as planned. From February 1, higher education institutions, along with primary and secondary schools, will reopen.
The Federal Minister said that next week, before reopening higher education institutions and primary and middle schools, the NCOC will review infection rates in various cities and districts. Authorities will examine whether education facilities can stay closed in cities and districts where the infection risk is high, he said.
Where possible, authorities may also decide to have kids who live in areas where lockdowns are imposed come to schools once a week to collect their homework, the Minister of Education said.
He acknowledged that in recent months, education had suffered losses, but emphasised that the government had to take care of the health of people as well.
In an earlier meeting, Mahmood said the ministers had noticed that the opening of schools had a direct effect on infection rates.
“When we saw [infection rate rising], we closed schools because our experts told us that there is a clear link between school closures and infection rate,” he told reporters.
Mahmood said in a two-part tweet announcing the reopening dates that “priority is being given to [classes 9-12] because of board exams that have been postponed to May, June”
“the situation is being monitored daily for the safety of our students and teachers and their families.”the situation is being monitored on a daily basis for the safety of our students and teachers and their families.