Islamabad - The Ministry of Federal Education and Professional Training (FE&PT) on Wednesday directed all provincial governments to not allow the conducting of any official examinations, including those for private courses, like the Institute of Chartered Accountants Pakistan (ICAP), and religious institutions in the provinces following the decisions taken in National Coordination Committee (NCC).

This has been said in a letter written by the Federal Secretary of FE&PT to Chief Secretaries of all provinces and governments of Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan.

In his letter, the Federal Secretary FE&PT Dr. Sajid Yoosufani said that “the National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) is the apex body for COVID-19 response at the national level, where decisions are taken by the federal government and federating units after extensive consultative and seeking technical input from all the relevant stakeholders.”

Addressing to all provincial and regional governments he said that the NCOC has earlier endorsed a decision of inter-provincial Education Minister’s conference, dated 14th May 2020, to close all education institution till 15th July. The same forum has also agreed to cancel all exams at all level.

The letter also said that the decision of NCOC was taken in the context of containing the spread of COVID-19 and the safety of children, school staff and their families. The ultimate motive was to reduce the number of patients and fatalities.

He further added that “it is evident that implementation of SOPs is linked with the enforcement capacity of provincial and districts administration and any such measures needs public health advice from relevant departments to avoid negative consequences.“

It also said a unilateral decision by provincial or federal governments taken in isolation, without placing the matter of scrutiny in the apex body that is NCOC, will not be advisable at this stage due to the potential adverse implications.

The Federal Secretary also wrote that it has come to light that some governments are considering giving permission, as exceptions, to some institutions to conduct exams.

He contended that such exceptions can subsequently lead to agitation by other private educational institutions and professional bodies who may seek similar exemptions. Furthermore, they would have a negative impact on the already over stretched health resources of the provincial and federal governments. “It is the considered view of the Ministry that this is not an appropriate time to give such exemption to conduct examinations that involves brining a group of people/students together in large number which may have serious public health repercussions.”  The provincial governments must not allow any violation of the earlier decision by the NCC. Any exemption has to be authorized by NCC.