Students arrive at their school in Rawalpindi on Monday as the government reopened educational institutes. AFP
Tariq Butt, Correspondent
The federal government of Pakistan has decided to promote students of grades I-IV and VI-VII studying in schools operated by the Centre, without exams, due to the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Meanwhile, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani announced on Sunday that classes for grades 9 and above will resume from Monday. "Sindh Corona Task Force has decided to reopen educational institutions of Sindh for class 9th and above from 7th June(tomorrow) with strict SOPs. All staff must be get vaccinated," he tweeted.
KP to reopen medical colleges, universities from Monday
The Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) health department announced reopening of all private and government medical colleges and universities from Monday as the number of coronavirus cases declined in the province.
"In continuation of this department's notification of Even No. dated 27-05-2021, the competent authority has been pleased to direct that all public & private Medical Universities/Medical Colleges, Paramedical/Allied Health Sciences Schools/Colleges shall be opened with effect from 7th June, 2021," read a notification issued by the provincial health department.
Students attend a class at a private school in Peshawar. AP
Earlier, classes for only final year and semester students had restarted but after the improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the province, the department has allowed reopening of all classes.
Meanwhile, the province has also decided to reopen all universities in the province. The provincial Higher Education Department has issued a notification to this effect, while directing all public and private sector universities to adhere to strict compliance of Standard Operating Procedure (SOPs) notified by the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC).
Women wait for their turn to get virus vaccine at the Expo Centre in Karachi. AFP
The NCOC had earlier issued instructions to keep all educational institutions in the province closed till June 7. At the same time, the NCOC data showed that the intensity of the third wave of the coronavirus seems to be decreasing as the country reported a coronavirus positivity rate below 4% for the sixth consecutive day. Pakistan carried out 52,427 tests in the last 24 hours out of which 1,629 returned positive.
Federal officials said the government has decided to conduct exams of students only in grade V and VIII. They added that the director general of the federal directorate of education has sent a summary to the relevant authorities in this regard.
They said students will be promoted to the next grade on the basis of the marks they got last year. They added that last year, students from classes I-VIII were promoted on the basis of exams, adding that the record showed that 90% of the students had passed.
The decision comes as students from grades I-VIII are set to return to schools in Islamabad from Monday onwards after the government agreed to the resumption of in-person classes.
The NCOC said that the positivity rate stands at 3.1% and the new cases have taken the nationwide tally of positive cases to 932,140. Pakistan also reported 76 deaths from the coronavirus over the past 24 hours, taking the countrywide death toll to 21,265.
Pakistan receives US emergency supplies for COVID-19 fight
Critical health supplies airlifted by the United States, through US Agency for International Development (USAID), arrived to help save lives, stop the spread of COVID-19, and meet the urgent health needs of the country.
The airlift to Pakistan contributes critically needed and requested emergency medical supplies, including personal protective equipment, pulse oximeters, and other supplies. USAID will complement these supplies with technical assistance on their use and maintenance.
“Today, the United States continues our proud partnership with the government of Pakistan in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic,” US embassy Chargé d’affaires Lesslie Viguerie said. “Throughout this struggle, we have worked together to provide resources and relief to those suffering and to help those on the frontlines of this pandemic. Pakistan is not alone in its fight against the coronavirus.”
"Based on the reduced level of COVID disease spread and the launch of the school vaccination programme, it has been decided in today’s NCOC meeting to allow all educational institutions to start normal classes from 11th October,” Umar said on Twitter.
The educational institutions in Pakistan will begin reopening in phases from next week following a fall in new coronavirus case numbers, officials said, ending a long closure that led to exam cancellations and threw students' grades into chaos.
Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan has approved specific funding for the advance purchase of the COVID-19 vaccine, according to a statement released by the Ministry of National Health Services Regulation on Thursday.
The Punjab government is keeping a close eye on coronavirus cases in the schools, Minister Murad Raas said adding that random testing was being conducted and a slight increase in numbers has been observed.
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