ISLAMABAD - The provincial ministers of education on Wednesday agreed to reopen educational institutions in the country depending upon the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) situation.

Meeting of the Provincial education ministers was held here to discuss the current Corona pandemic situation and opening of educational institutions across the country. The meeting was presided over by Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood.

Earlier, the government had announced that educational institutions would be reopen on July 15, however, now the timeline has been extended to 1st week of September depending upon the COVID-19 spread.

Officials said that it was decided in the meeting to recommend the National Coordination Committee (NCC) that the institutions will be opened on the decision and approval of NCC in the first week of September under strict Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Officials said that National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) recommendations would also be clubbed with the opening of the institution which would convey about the spike of COVID-19 cases in September.

NCOC will discuss the matter on Thursday. “It will review COVID-19 curve, so it is not final and dates can be adjusted,” said officials. They said that two sessions of Provincial Education Ministers Conference (IPEMC) would also be held before September 1st.

Officials said that the professional examinations would be allowed, however decision of promoting the students the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSSC) level would remain intact.

Statement released by the Ministry of Education said that a press briefing would be held on Thursday to formally announce the government policy regarding opening of schools and conducting of examination.

The government, in the month of May had largely decided to promote the SSC and HSSC students to the next grades without conducting examinations due to novel coronavirus situation.

Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood earlier in a press briefing held after the meeting of inter-provincial examination boards said that it was in the meeting that SSC and HSSC students would largely be promoted to the next grades without examination. However special category students, having lower percentage of marks would have to appear in a separate exam to be conducted in September.

The minister said that all 29 educational boards unanimously agreed on the policy devised to pass the students due to COVID-19 situation in the country. Providing details, the minister said that different categories of the SSC and HSSC students, according to their grades, were to be promoted due to current unusual circumstances.