PESHAWAR: The federal government has decided that the educational institutions will remain closed in the selected districts with high coronavirus rate till April 11.
The provincial governments will take their own decisions after consultations with health authorities in this regard.
Decision to this effect was taken at a joint meeting of federal and provincial education and health ministers headed by Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood in Islamabad on Wednesday.
Coronavirus cases have witnessed an alarming increase during recent days, with the country reporting more than 3,000 virus cases for the past seven days consecutively. On Wednesday, 3,301 cases and 30 deaths were reported in Pakistan.
Talking to media persons after the meeting, Shafqat Mahmood said that keeping in view the increasing and dangerous trend coronavirus cases, the provincial governments will decide about the districts where the educational institutions will remain closed.
The minister said that the coronavirus situation is very serious in certain districts of Punjab, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Azad Jammu and Kashmir. However, he said, the intensity of the virus is relatively less in Sindh, Balochistan and Gilgit-Baltistan at present.
Shafqat Mahmood said earlier the educational institutions were closed from March 15-28 in some districts of Punjab and KP as well as the federal capital in the light of spike in coronavirus cases. He said no compromise could be made on the health of students. He said the government knows that the closure of educational institutions would affect the education of children. However, he said, the health of children is top priority of the government. He said board examinations of grades 9, 10, 11 and 12 will be held as per the timetable.
Shafqat said that the next meeting of the federal and provincial education and health ministers will be held on April 07 to review the whole situation and then take the decision accordingly. He said he will also have a meeting with the Cambridge education board to see if the exams could be moved forward.
After the meeting, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Minister for Elementary and Secondary Education Shahram Khan Tarakai said schools will remain closed in Peshawar, Mardan, Charsadda, Swabi, Kohat, Lower Dir, Malakand, Swat, Nowshera and Buner.