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Schools to remain closed until end of Covid-19: minister

Schools to remain closed until end of Covid-19: minister

LAHORE: Punjab Minister for School Education Murad Raas has clearly announced that the government will not allow private schools to open until the end of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Addressing a press conference at the Punjab Curriculum and Textbook Board (PCTB) office here on Tuesday, the minister termed it the priority of the government to save lives of students and teachers rather than opening schools.

He also issued a warning of strict action over violation of the orders to keep the schools shut due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The All Pakistan Private Schools Federation (APPSF) has been demanding opening of the schools by following standard operating procedure (SOP) of the international level.

‘Lives of students, teachers a priority’

It proposed running schools in two shifts -- from 7am to 10am and from 12pm to 2pm -- by maintaining social distance in classes.

The federation also carried out a countrywide protest last week to demand opening of the schools just as the government had opened other businesses in the country. It expressed apprehension that schools closure due to Covid-19 would result in their permanent closure as 90pc of them were working in rented buildings and could not bear the expenses.

However, the school education minister announced that the government would not allow private schools to open until end of the Covid-19.

Mr Raas mentioned that all private schools would have to give 20pc fee concession to the students till the closure of schools whether it took months or a year.

Replying to a query about the private schools’ demand to operate in two shifts by following the SOP, he said the ministry could not put lives of the students and teachers at risk and it would also result in spread of the virus.

Mr Raas said work was going on to establish model schools in the province and also a control room in the PCTB had been set up to resolve complaints about books.

He said the books would be distributed among the students from upcoming week.

Published in Dawn, June 3rd, 2020

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