- Classes for primary classes-VIII to resume from January 25, say sources
- Classes for grades IX-XII to resume from January 18
- Universities and higher educational institutions to reopen across the country from February 1
KARACHI: Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood announced on Monday that schools and educational institutions will reopen across the country in three phases.
“On January 18, grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 — those that have exams — will resume,” he said during a news conference. “This means that students of grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 will go to their schools and colleges from January 18 and their studies will resume.”
He said that in the second phase, students of primary classes till grade 8 will start going to schools from January 25. “This means that primary schools, for primary classes till grade 8 will resume from January 25,” he added.
The minister said that universities and other higher educational institutions will reopen from February 1 in the third and last phase.
Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas tweeted that classes from grades 9-12 will resume from January 18 while those from ECE to 8th grade will resume from January 25.
“Universities to open on February 1st, 2021. All institutions will have 50% students on alternate days as before,” he tweeted.
The Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC), is mulling over the reopening of educational institutions in three phases.
The federal government, on the recommendation of the National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC), had closed all the educational institutions including madrassahs from November 26, 2020 to January 10, 2021.
Read more: Private schools want classes to resume from January 11
Under that plan, schools were to reopen on January 11. But the rising spread of the novel coronavirus across the country has cast a shadow on that decision with federal and provincial education ministers saying that it was “unlikely” educational institutions would be allowed to reopen.
Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood will chair the meeting while all the provincial ministers will attend the conference via video link. The final decision regarding the reopening of schools would be taken after advice from the health ministry on the matter.
The IPEMC will deliberate over the reopening educational institutions in phases. In the first phase, the primary level students would head back to school on January 25. The second phase would see middle schools reopening by February 4 and the higher education institutions would start by February 15 in the third phase.
Read more: Will the academic year in Punjab be extended?
It has been proposed to delay school and board examinations till the last week of May or early June. The summer vacations would be shortened with the new academic year beginning in August.
The IPEMC meeting agenda
- Health updates on all provinces/regions by the national health services ministry
- Reopening of educational institutions
- School and education board exams slated to be held in May-June 2021
- Reduction in spring and summer vacation and the start of the 2021-22 academic session
- Implementation status of the Council of Common Interest’s decision on the transfer of the existing NCHD and BECS schools, and the proposed national education policy.
Although education is a provincial matter, under the 18th Amendment, the provinces adopted Centre’s policy owing to a Supreme Court decision directing for a uniformed policy to tackle the coronavirus pandemic in the country.
Private schools associations across the country have opposed keeping schools shut.
On Thursday, a private school council demanded the government reopen schools on January 11 as planned and also sought an economic relief package. “The government should suspend the registration fee and taxes for a year.”