KARACHI - Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani on Thursday made it clear that the final decision on reopening of schools rests with the government and that no private body was authorised to take this decision in any capacity, further warning that schools may not reopen on the tentative September 15 date if health officials are not satisfied with the coronavirus situation.

The provincial minister pointed out that the National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) had decided that schools should not reopen now.

The remarks came amidst a continuing controversy over reopening of schools, with private schools’ associations issuing defiant statements suggesting that they might attempt to reopen schools earlier than health authorities had allowed.

“When adults and people of mature age are not following [Standard Operating Procedures], how can we have that same expectation from children?” Ghani asked. Yesterday, a spokesperson from the federal education ministry had said that all educational institutes would reopen on September 15 across the country, pending a final decision and review by the NCOC.

Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood had chaired a conference of education ministers in Islamabad where decision of school reopening was taken. In light of a unanimous decision, it was announced that the schools in Sindh will also open from September 15. According to the spokesperson, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) government had proposed to open schools from September 1, which was rejected by all provinces.

varsities to reopen by Sept 15

A spokesperson to Sindh Minister for Universities and Boards, Shakil Memon on Thursday said universities in province would reopen by September 15.

Talking to APP here, he said so far this decision was announced by federal government and provincial government would implement it. Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) would be put in the place before reopening the universities in the province, he said.

Deputy Director Public Relation Officer, University of Karachi, Muhammad Zeeshan Azmat said the decision had been announced by the government to reopen universities and other institutions in the country. The university would follow the directives of Sindh government but it did not receive any official letter from provincial government to reopen university, he said.

He further said the reopening of universities or institutions would depend on the number of COVID-19 cases. He hoped the number of coronavirus cases would decline in the future.

It was pertinent to mention here, Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood announced in July that educational institutions across the country would be reopened on September 15 provided that the health indicators improve.

SU Syndicate accords approval of recommendations of Academic Council

The special meeting of the Syndicate of University of Sindh, Jamshoro was held to consider the recommendations of the Academic Council regarding Covid-19-period-specific online teaching-learning and First Semester 2020 modes.

The meeting was presided over by SU Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Fateh Muhammad Burfat and SU Registrar Dr. Ameer Ali Abro was also present.

The august house, through amicable dialogue and discussion, executed in pleasant and cordial spirit; unanimously approved the recommendations of the Academic Council of the Varsity.

The given recommendations were made by the Academic Council in its special meeting held on May 14, 2020 and in its 41st meeting on July 24, 2020 respectively. Those recommendations included launch of online teaching-learning process, conducting online oral viva voce/presentation examinations for the first Semester 2020 and the decision not to conduct pre-entrance test for admissions to the academic year 2021. The house expressed special appreciation for Sindh University Vice Chancellor Prof. Dr. Fateh Muhammad Burfat, all PVCs/ Focal Persons, Deans, Academic Heads, Academic Council Members, Representatives of Sindh University Teachers Associations, SU Administration, SU IT team led jointly by Prof. Dr. Yasir Arfat Malkani, Prof. Dr. Altaf Hussain Nizamani, Dr. Zeeshan Bhatti and others towards continuation of academic process in the face of all odds.

Dr. Burfat said he was overjoyed to see all Varsity stakeholders on one page in their clear resolve to save one precious academic year of SU students; adding that unprecedented understanding of the sensitivity of the situation by honorable SU Syndicate Members and their subsequent approval reflected as to how much empathetic they all were to society and youth of Sindh and Pakistan.

Dr. Burfat thanked all for their what he called “mammoth support” to the cause of education, their appreciation of SU administration under his captaincy, and their trust and confidence in Sindh University, terming virtual Syndicate interface “a sizzling success.” The house offered fateha for the departed souls of spouse of SU Syndicate Member Prof. Dr. Abdul Ahad Abro, late Dr. Aftab Ahmed Charan, Assistant Professor, SU-SMBB Campus Dadu and others.

The nominated and elected honorable members participated in the meeting. Those who were in attendance included Secretary to Chief Minister Sindh for Boards and Universities, Muhammad Riazuddin Qureshi, CM nominee former Chairperson Shah Latif Chair and former Chairperson Sindhi Language Authority Prof. Dr. Fahmida Hussain, Nominee of Chairman Higher Education Commission Islamabad former Federal Secretary Mr. Fazalullah Qureshi, Nominee of Chairperson Sindh Higher Education Commission former Federal Secretary Mr. Imtiaz Kazi, MPA Kulsoom Akhtar Chandio, Vice Chancellor GCU Hyderabad Prof. Dr. Nasiruddin Shaikh, Dean SU Faculty of Law Advocate Mr. Jhamat Jethanand, Principal Sindh Law College Hyderabad Advocate Nisar Ahmed Durrani and SU elected members Prof. Dr. Arfana Begum Mallah, Dr. Rafique Ahmed Lashari, Prof. Jamshed Baloch and Dr. Asadullah Buledi.