PESHAWAR - While the authorities have not decided yet to reopen universities from the first week of September, it has been decided to open the hostels even during the on­going lockdown for the students living in far-off areas where Internet facility is not available, with the aim to enable them to attend online classes.

Talking to The Nation, Secretary Higher Education Department Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Hassan Mehmood Yousafzai said that because students of the merged districts and many other far-off areas did not have internet facility, they were being allowed to stay at their hostels to at least attend online classes.

The universities would remain closed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic at the moment, and may be reopened from September 1. The official said that another round of the meeting would be held to­day (Thursday) in which the final decision about reo­pening of the universities would be taken.

He said though the Prime Minister had directed au­thorities concerned to start internet services in the merged and underdeveloped areas, it might take time to do so. It may be mentioned here that the universities started online classes amid the lockdown and a number of universities had even taken online mid-term exams.

A university student from Mardan, Abdullah Khan, said that they were now appearing in the mid-term examination.

In South Waziristan, one of the merged and faraway districts, the district administration has set up internet cafes so that students of the area can attend their online classes. Similarly, the coronavirus pandemic has result­ed in more efforts in the nook and corner of the coun­try to promote digital technologies such as videoconfer­encing for meetings and online classes for students.

Federation of All Pakistan Academic Staff Association (FAPUASA) President for KP, Dr Sartaj Alam, told The Na­tion that hopefully, the coronavirus epidemic might be controlled by September and they support the govern­ment’s decision to reopen institutions from September.