ISLAMABAD : Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood on Monday announced that the government plans to reopen educational institutes in the country as soon as the coronavirus pandemic is over. “We have an inter-provincial meeting of education ministers on September 07,” he said while responding to a call attention notice at the floor of the National Assembly and said that the government is going to open schools from September 15. Shafqat Mahmood said that they had given an incentive of lowering school fee by 20 percent during the pandemic. “We also issued directives to the provinces to implement upon the decision,” he said adding that if parents would not pay school fee then it would become difficult for the educational institutes to pay salaries to teachers and other concerned staffers. He said that coronavirus has badly hit schools sector and they are mulling over to announce a special package for them from Prime Minister Imran Khan. “The schools could also take advantage of the relief package announced by the State Bank of Pakistan (SBP),” he said. Earlier on August 21, Shafqat Mahmood said on Friday a final decision to reopen schools that were closed in March to prevent the spread of coronavirus would be taken at an interprovincial education ministers’ conference on Sept 7. he said the Ministry of Health will devise standard operating procedures (SOPs) for educational institutions to follow to prevent the spread of the virus. Schools will reopen from Sept 15 given that the coronavirus situation improves, he added. Lamenting that the pandemic took a heavy toll on the education sector, Shafqat Mahmood said he mobilised the forum of the interprovincial education ministers’ conference to deliberate issues related to education. According to a Gallup survey, he said, seven to eight million children have been getting education through the Telechool, an educational television channel, launched by the prime minister in April to make up for academic losses suffered by students due to closure of education institutes.
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