Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood on Monday chaired a meeting of Pakistan's provincial education ministers to make a final decision on whether to reopen educational institutes across the country from September 15.

.The Higher Education Commission's (HEC) chairperson and executive director, Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Health Dr Faisal Sultan, and officials of the health department were also present at the Inter-Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC), which aimed to compile the final recommendations regarding the opening of educational institutes.

The recommendations to resume educational activities would be sent to the National Command Operation Centre (NCOC) for further deliberations among all the stakeholders.

The meeting was set to also focus on finalising the standard operating procedures (SOPs) in this regard. Educational institutes across Pakistan had been shut down back on March 13 in a bid to curb the spread of the deadly coronavirus.

The Single National Curriculum (SNC), a short curriculum for the current academic year, examinations in 2021, and establishment of anti-harassment bodies in the provinces were also on the meeting's agenda.

A discussion on the transition plans related to the Basic Education Community Schools (BECS) and National Commission for Human Development (NCHD) was also planned for the IPEMC.

In this regard, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani said all educational institutes were to open between September 15 and 30.

All classes starting Grade 9 and up, as well as all universities, would reopen from Sept 15, while Grade 6-8 classes would resume by Sept 22, Ghani said, adding, however, that pre-primary and primary classes would reopen on Sept 30.

The provincial minister warned that the schools in any area that may witness a rise in the number of coronavirus cases would be closed.

Wearing face masks would be mandatory in the schools and strict action was to be taken in case of violation of the coronavirus-related SOPs, he added.

Moreover, Punjab Education Minister Dr Murad Raas said there would be "no double shift".

"Alternative day schedule to be followed by all public & private schools," Raas said on Twitter.

Separately, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, the provincial education department has decided to conduct coronary tests on school staff and students.