Azmat Tanha

PESHAWAR: Confusion is still prevailing over the exact date of reopening of private educational institutions in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa as now an assurance has been given to the Private Education Network that schools will reopen by September 01.

The assurance came from Speaker Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Assembly Mushtaq Ghani in a meeting with representatives of Private Education Network (PEN) at his chamber on Tuesday. The meeting was attended by PEN general secretary Syed Anas Takreem, provincial vice-president Fazlullah Daudzai, district president Abdullah, Charsadda chapter president Nafeesullah, general secretary Tahir Amin, Abbottabad chapter president Naqeebullah Khan, general secretary Raja Qadeer and Haripur chapter general secretary Haris Abbasi.

The meeting was told that the schools in winter zone are closed for the last nine months, while schools in summer zone are closed for the last six months due to coronavirus. The delegation requested the KP Assembly speaker for reopening of the schools on immediate basis. The speaker assured that he will take up the matter with higher authorities and request them to reopen the schools from September 01.

All the educational institutions in the country were closed in March due to coronavirus. The government has now decided to reopen the schools from September 15 as the coronavirus situation in the country has improved. However, the private educational institutions have rejected this decision of the government.

In some areas of KP, private schools reopened on August 15, but the government took action against them and arrested their principals for violating the government directives. The government has made it clear that schools have been opened for administrative work only and full reopening will only happen on September 15 and those violating the government directives will face action. The government has also advised parents not to send their children to schools.

Views are divided on the reopening of the schools with some political parties, civil society members and activists supporting the schools reopening, while others opposing it.

The government and others who still opine that the schools should remain shut are of the opinion that although the coronavirus is on its way out in Pakistan, but it is not defeated fully and there is likelihood that it can return with even more intensity if precautionary measures were not followed. They say nothing is more important than the safety of children.