Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood announced the schedule for education institute reopening and conduct of professional examinations after approval by the National Command and Control Centre (NCOC).
It has been decided to open all Education Institutes, including Madaris, public and private schools, colleges, universities, across the country from September 15, 2020.
The proposal to reopen education institutions and hold professional exams was taken after extensive consultations with Provincial and Area Ministers and Secretaries of concerned departments, and consensus reached in Inter-Provincial Education Minister’s Conference. The guidance was also taken from the Health Department regarding the COVID Pandemic and safety procedures.
The Government will review the health indicators in the first and third week of August and in September before the opening of educational institutes to ensure the conditions are suitable for reopening. The education facilities will reopen on the basis of clear and detailed Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for safe education facility reopening.
All education institutes will open their administrative and academic offices from July 15 onwards to begin preparations for safe reopening and ensure the implementation of SOPs.
The Education Minister further said that the universities had been given permission to allow their PhD level students or those who wanted to do their research work in laboratories, to physically attend before the 15th of September.
Universities will allow students that are in far-flung areas to join on-campus classes before September 15, 2020, ensuring only 30% hostel occupancy. This is an attempt to mitigate the academic loss of students from remote areas in education during COVID-19. These students will be called after Eid ul Azha under strict SOPs. “A health check will be mandatory for such students and teaching faculties who will attend universities before September 15”, he remarked.
It has also been decided to allow selected professional and recruitment examinations, madrassa exams and admission tests under strict SOPs, with immediate effect. Three important criteria are essential for the conduct of exams Masks, Physical distancing of 6 feet, and open and airy spaces for the conduct of exams.
The provincial and area governments, with the support of district authorities, will ensure strict implementation of the SOPs for education facility reopening and exams.
Any institute found violating the SOPs will not be allowed to function.
The vocational and technical training institutions will allow students who were getting on the job training to continue their training in industries, while the students who were getting training in classrooms can only attend their training class from the 15th of September. The vocational institutions had also been given permission to call their teaching staff before the 15th of September for training regarding SOPs, the minister briefed.