KARACHI         -            Sindh Education and Labour Minister Saeed Ghani has said that out of 49,000 public schools across the province, 13,000 are closed while there is a shortfall of 37,000 teachers.

While talking to the media after appearing in Sindh High Court’s (SHC) Hyderabad bench on Thursday in connection with a case related to dearth of teachers at some schools in Tando Allahyar, he said educational institutions in the province had been shut down as a measure to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Ghani said it was unfortunate that the Sindh government was being accused of hushing up details of the pilgrims returning to the province from Iran and other matters related to the coronavirus. “The government is providing accurate information and nothing is being hidden,” he clarified.

He said he had told the SHC that the recruitment of teachers was being done on merit, and that other steps were being taken to improve the system of education in the province.

In reply to a question, provincial Minister for Education Saeed Ghani said most of the countries around the world had banned public gatherings and closed educational institutions in view of the threat from coronavirus, and that’s why educational institutions in Sindh were shut down.

Ghani said that symptoms of the virus appeared in 14 days. “Not only the pilgrims returning from Iran are being monitored, but the health of their family members is also under scrutiny,” he told the media.

To a question on changes in the Sindh cabinet, Saeed Ghani said bringing changes in the cabinet is nothing new, and practiced around the world. “The party’s leadership and the Sindh Chief Minister Syed Murad Ali Shah are authorised to take decisions in this regard,” he added.

Ghani further said that he had preferred to continue the policies of his predecessor Sardar Shah since these were useful for the education sector.

Responding to another question, Ghani said that all provinces made their budgets within the specific targets; reduction in the revenues of the federal government and depriving provinces of their due share under the NFC Award adversely affected development schemes.

He said that last year, Sindh received less share from the Centre, and this year too it is facing a deficit of several billion rupees.

Ghani said that many projects are underway for the development of education sector.

The condition of 49000 schools cannot be fixed with a magic knife. He said that improvement in condition of those schools that have high enrollment of children will be done on priority basis.