Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood has called for universities that have chosen to remain closed to “reconsider” their decision.
The minister said that “online lessons, however good, are no substitute for on campus classes”.
He said that with interactions between students and all the university staff members on campus “mould social behaviour” and so varsities must rethink their move to not reopen.
A day earlier, Mehmood had said that the country has witnessed “too much loss” on the education front due to the pandemic.
NCOC decides all remaining classes should resume
The National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC), after a detailed discussion with all stakeholders on February 27, decided that educational institutions shall resume all remaining classes — at the primary, middle and university level — on February 1.
The forum decided that students in Karachi, Hyderabad, Lahore and Peshawar would attend classes with 50% strength on alternate days.
The forum has decided to reopen the education sector with strict recommendations of staggered classes for three days a week in the urban centres, in light of the higher coronavirus positivity ratio reported there.
However, universities would resume operations as per the usual schedule.
The decision to reopen schools comes amid a worsening coronavirus situation both domestically and internationally.
Pakistan’s coronavirus situation
Pakistan reported 1,599 cases of coronavirus in the last 24 hours, after which the total number of cases reported so far hit 544,813.
The country lost 34 more souls infected with the disease in this time, bringing the total number of deaths to 11,657.
The daily count of cases has remained above 1,500 for the past several weeks. The last time a figure below that was reported, was on November 7, when 1,436 cases emerged.
Fatalities have also remained in the double digits. The last time fewer than 10 deaths were seen was on November 9, when nine people were reported to have died from coronavirus.