Uncertainty looms over the reopening of educational institutions across the country, as the provincial and Federal governments have failed to agree on potential dates for easing the lock-down and resuming academic sessions.

In a statement issued by its President Kashif Mirza, the All Pakistan Schools Federation has rejected the government’s decision to keep all private schools closed until July 15.

Also, Balochistan Private Schools Association has also rejected government’s decision to remain closed and said schools would reopen on June 1. Reopening of schools in KPK remains in doubt, but may resume sometime in June.

On the other hand, public schools in Punjab remain subject to orders of the government. Earlier, Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas said that no decision regarding the opening of schools on June 1 had been made, adding that lives of students and staff was a priority.

Sindh Minister for Education said that reopening of schools might take months despite the pressure from private school associations.

Closure of public and private universities may also be extended beyond July 15, according to a meeting of universities’ heads that was chaired by the Higher Education Commission (HEC) Chairman.

“The future scenario is uncertain and the closure of universities till July 15, 2020, could be extended. This has necessitated decisions and steps on part of both HEC and universities with regard to online teaching, examinations, and admissions,” it was said by HEC Chairman Tariq Banuri.

University students had taken to the social media to call for complete cancellation of higher education examinations as well, prompting the HEC to address the matter.

It has been decided in the meeting of the universities that all higher educational institutes would announce their policies on examinations and admissions within one week.

Earlier, Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood announced cancellation of all board examinations across the country. He said that the Ministry of Education was in consultation with 29 boards across the country regarding students’ promotion and the government’s decision to cancel examinations remained unchanged.

As schools across the world slowly begin to reopen, the safety of the students and teachers remains in question. In Pakistan educational institutions should only be allowed to reopen once they have developed SOPs against the spread of COVID-19.

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