All public and private educational institutions are bound to call students to campus on alternate days – half the student population on one day and the other half on the next, said Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani on Friday.
Ghani was briefing the media outside the Sindh Assembly building after the education department’s steering committee’s meeting on the day. Examinations will be conducted after 60 per cent of the syllabus is complete, said the minister, reiterating that no student will be promoted this year without sitting for exams. Even if the examinations have to be delayed by two or three months, he added.
Schools across the province are set to resume on campus classes from February 1 for Grades I to VIII, as decided earlier by the National Command and Operating Centre.
But, said Ghani, every child will be on school premises only three days a week as educational institutes are to call students in two groups, on alternate days.
All educational institutes are also bound to follow the coronavirus-related standard operating procedures (SOPs) mandated by the steering committee, he added.
Ghani reiterated that coronavirus screenings will continue at all public and private educational institutes.
The minister further apprised that a sub-committee of the steering committee, which comprises the secretaries, members and chairpersons of schools, colleges and universities and boards, will present a report regarding the current and next educational years, examination schedule, holidays and admissions in the next week.
Matters will be finalised after consultation with all stakeholders at another meeting of the steering committee to be held on January 30, he said.
The academic plan made last year had to be revised again due to the pandemic, said the minister, adding that although the curriculum was reduced by up to 40 per cent, schools were shut for another two months during the second wave of the contagion.
The 20 per cent discount in fees announced during the lockdown will be revoked now as the lockdown is over now, he said.
The difficulties of private educational institutes were also deliberated upon during the meeting and the demand to provide loans to private, especially small, educational institutions will be put before the Centre, he added.
According to the minister, a census will be conducted of all private educational institutions and the number of students in the province enrolled in these institutes will be counted as well. Besides, the literacy rate at private institutions will be tabulated, he said.
Replying to a question, Ghani said that the problems plaguing his department could not be resolved in a day or two. But steps are being taken to address the issues, he insisted. The process to appoint good officials in the department has been initiated, he added.
In response to another question, the provincial minister maintained that the Sindh Assembly had passed a resolution to revoke the ban on student unions back in 2019, but the Pakistan People’s Party-led Sindh government wants all political parties to agree that they will not use students for their own political purposes.
The steering committee’s meeting was attended by the education department secretary, chairpersons of all Sindh’s boards, the colleges and boards chairperson, experts, and others.
Earlier this month, on campus classes resumed across the province for students of Grade IX to XII after a nearly two-month long suspension due to the second wave of the pandemic. The NCOC is set to resume physical classes for the primary grades as well on February 1 after a review of the situation.
Originally published at The express tribune