Education minister’s meeting postponed

Islamabad: The meeting of the Federal and Provincial Education Ministers on the decision of closure of the school in the light of a countrywide surge in coronavirus cases was postponed until next week.

However, there is no official word on the reason for the postponement of the meeting. The 34th meeting of the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference to be chaired by Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mehmood in the chair was called to decide whether the current coronavirus situation warrants the closure of schools in view of the spread of the infection, especially new super spreader variant, Omicron.

In a notification circulated shortly before the meeting, the Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training on Thursday said, “In continuation of this ministry’s DO Letter of even number dated 11th January 2022, the meeting of the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) scheduled on 13th January 2022 has been postponed till next week.” No explanation was given for the postponement.

Pakistan reported more than 3,000 coronavirus cases for the first time since September 15, 2021.  NCOC (The National Command and Operations Center) on Thursday morning also revealed that 3,019 more cases were reported nationwide in the last 24 hours taking the overall infection tally to 1.31 million.

The COVID-19 positivity ratio reached 6.12 percent, the highest in more than four months, as the infection rate was below this figure on September 8, 2021. On Tuesday, Federal Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry ruled out the possibility of school closures and imposition of lockdowns due to the rising coronavirus cases. After a cabinet meeting, he had told reporters that though the coronavirus positivity ratio had doubled in the country, the Federal Government would absolutely not impose lockdowns in the country as the economy could no longer bear its burden.

Meanwhile, Punjab Education Minister Murad Ras tweeted that all social activities in schools were not.  However, Schools should be absolutely the last in line to close. “The learning losses of our children in the past two years – Unimaginable,” he said.