ISLAMABAD - The Federal Cabinet which met in Islamabad on Tuesday with Prime Minister Imran Khan in the chair expressed satisfaction over resumption of educational activities across the country, following improvement in the COVID-19 situation.

Later briefing media persons, Minister for Information and Broadcasting Shibli Faraz urged educational institutions to fully comply with the SOPs to avoid the spread of coronavirus. The Cabinet also considered an amendment in the Electoral Act to make it binding on the elected members to take oath of their office within sixty to ninety days after the elections.

Shibli Faraz said the Cabinet meeting reviewed matters pertaining to irregular constructions. He said the PTI governments in the provinces have been directed to prepare master plans of their major cities to ensure planned construction.

The Minister said government accords priority to protection of Green Areas and the cabinet decided not to regularise the illegal construction of a prison on a green area in the federal capital. He said this facility will be demolished and inquiry will be conducted against those who approved it. He said the prison will be constructed at an alternate place in Islamabad.

The federal cabinet was also informed about action and status of progress taken against pilots with fake licenses. The cabinet was informed that licenses of 32 further pilots were cancelled for next two months, while licenses of 28 pilots were also cancelled erstwhile.

The federal cabinet was also informed that FIA has also been taking action against officials of Civil Aviation involved in supporting pilots with fake licenses and documents. The cabinet also approved to handover responsibilities of Chief Executive of National Disaster Risk Management Fund to Secretary Climate Change with instructions for Ministry of Planning and Finance Ministry to improve mechanism for transparent usage of National Disaster Risk Management Fund.

The federal cabinet also approved proposed bill for Civil Services Academy Bill 2020 to make Civil Services Academy as an autonomous institution. Prime Minister Imran Khan also announced to ensure financial assistance for people affected from flashfloods and torrential rains all over the country during recent rains spell through Ehsaas Program.

The federal cabinet also announced to endorse decisions taken by Cabinet Committee on state owned enterprises during its meeting from 24th June 2020 to 31st August 2020. The cabinet also approved appointment of Air Commodore Faisal Ayaz Siddiqui and Air Commodore Adnan Siddiqui as Member Commercial and Member Technical in Pakistan Aeronautical Complex Board.

Mixed response to reopening of educational institutes

One medical college, hostel sealed due to coronavirus detection

Re-opening of the educational institutions in capital met with mixed response of resumption of educational activities and sealing of a medical college and its hostel due to detection of novel coronavirus (COVID-19) there on Tuesday.

Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training (FE&PT) Shafqat Mahmood and other top officials paid visit to public and private sector educational institutions to welcome students and monitor the implementation on Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for prevention of COVID-19.

Meanwhile, the District Administration (DA) sealed Ripha Medical College (Campus and Hostel) after 16 cases were confirmed from its premises.

The notification issued by Deputy Commissioner (DC) office Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) said that in exercise of powers under Epidemic Diseases Control Act,1958 and after confirmation/reporting of more than sixteen (16) COVID-19 positive cases through the line list of NIH & pursuant to recommendations of Govt. of Pakistan, Ministry of National Health Services Regulation & Coordination, District Health Office, Islamabad vide letter No. 2(140-COVID-19/Health/2020, dated 14.09.2020.

It further said that after analysis of epidemiological trends by DC COVID Nerve Center, Islamabad and in order to prevent community spread of the virus, the Riphah Medical College (Campus & Hostel premises), Islamabad is hereby sealed with immediate effect, in public interest and until further orders.

“The Islamabad Police is requested to cordon off the premises mentioned above in order to ensure public safety and eliminate further spread of the virus,” said the notice.

Federal Minister for Education Shafqat Mahmood visited Mohsin Murtaza Model School for Boys, G-6/4, Islamabad College for Boys, G-6/3 and Islamabad Model School for Girls/Boys, Saidpur Village.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Secretary for FE&PT visited Wajiha Akram Khan visited the Islamabad Model College for Boys F-8/4 to examine the implementation on SoPs while the Secretary Education Ms. Farah Hamid Khan visited Islamabad Model College for Girls in F-6/2 to formally welcome the students and also advised them to strictly follow the health guidelines.

Minister Shafqat Mahmood in the statement released said that it is a historic day as the government, parents, teachers and students have been impatiently waiting for resumption of educational activities across the country and he formally welcomes all the students back to their schools, colleges and Universities.

During his visit to different Public and Private schools and colleges in Islamabad Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said that under the leadership and guidance of the Prime Minister of Pakistan  and untiring efforts of the government we have been able to open the educational institutes across the country.

The Minister requested all the Provinces including AJK & GB to strictly ensure the implementation of health guidelines. Education Minister also requested the parents to check their children before they come to school, and added that the role of teachers, head teachers and administrative staff have significantly increased in the present scenario to fully ensure implementation of SoPs particularly  maintaining the 6 feet distance to reduce the density, adherence to face masks and frequent washing of hands.

Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood has said that they are closely monitoring the institutes and for this purpose control rooms have been set-up. If lack of guidelines’ implementation is noticed, a warning shall be issued at first and finally the institute would be closed although it shall be injustice with the students, he remarked.

The Federal Minister hoped that all the provinces including AJK and GB will ensure the implementation of guidelines and they will succeed to defeat the pandemic if all of them fulfill their responsibilities.

Meanwhile, The government has allowed opening of all the private and public sector educational insitutions from Tuesday for students of secondary and higher secondary with directions to act upon the Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) after closure of more than five months due to pandemic of coronavirus.

More than 1800 public sector schools and over 3000 private intuitions in the district re-opened in a first phase for 9th and 10th grade students. However, the school administration had been directed by the provincial government to call 50 per cent students in each class.  

Deputy Commissioner Capt (R) Anwarul Haq visited some schools to check whether or not SOPs are being implemented. During his visit to Government Girls Higher Secondary School Morgah, he inspected the arrangements and talked to students.  

He said that the government was happy to re-open the schools but it was the duty of the teachers, parents and students to adopt the safety measures recommended by the government.  

He said that the provincial government had provided all the available resources to the education authority to adopt the SOPs and special mechanism had been devised for the monitoring.

DC Capt (R) Anwarul Haq said that all the Assistant Commissioners had been asked to form the teams at tehsil level to monitor the SOPs in the educational institutions as we did not want to put children lives endanger.  

He said that District Education Authority had been asked to check all the government and private schools in the district and assistant commissioners’ team would monitor overall situation.  

He said that government provided gadgets to the schools to check the temperature of the students, teachers and the staff and nobody would enter in the school who had high temperature, social distancing, washing hands and face masks were necessary.  

“There is no direction for the testing of coronavirus for teachers and staff in the district. We will test those people who had symptoms of Covid-19. We had no capacity to conduct test of all the staff more than 10,000 in the district,” he said.  

District Education Authority (DEA) Chief Executive Officer Iftikhar Hassan told media that two monitoring teams had been formed for the schools in the district both private and public sector.  

He said that the local teams comprised off senior officials and teachers had also be formed to check the SOPs and they will share their reports on daily basis.

“We asked the school principals to divide the 9th and 10th class students so they will be called on alternate days to maintain social distancing,” he said.

He said that parents had been informed that not to send child with fever in school as precautionary measure. He said that in the schools, the face mask was necessary but if any student did not wear than, the school administration will provide them.

Similarly, the Orientation ceremony for the newly admitted graduate and undergraduate students was held on Tuesday.

All Deans and Head of Departments were present on the occasion.

The ceremony was arranged to welcome the newcomers and to familiarize them with the University environment.

Ms.Humaira Saadia, Placement Officer hosted the ceremony and welcomed the students, faculty and staff members.

Dr. Sarwet Rasul, Dean Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, congratulated the students for becoming a part of this prestigious organization.

While addressing the newcomers, she said that they are privileged over many other students to be enrolled at FJWU. She congratulated students and said that it is their responsibility to return something to the country by getting higher education for becoming professional women and using maximum potential to contribute towards the development and progress of our country.

She urged the students to take responsibility for their actions and explore their hidden talents and use them in a beneficial way.

She further said that currently we have students from all over Pakistan which provides an opportunity to work and coordinate with diversified people to prove your talents.

Dr. Zainab Jehan, Registrar FJWU, elaborated on the different facilities and rules and regulations of the University. She also talks about the co-curricular activities within the university and motivated students for registrations.  Ms. Saima Mustaq, Deputy Controller Examination briefed the newly admitted students about the University Examination system. She also shed light upon the attendance policy, grading system, and degree requirements of graduate and undergraduate programs. In the end, all Heads of the Departments and Coordinators were introduced to the students and after that all concerned Heads of the Departments escorted their new enrolled students for the visit to their respective Departments and offices of the University.

Dr. Zainab Jehan, Registrar FJWU  also briefed students that they have to follow all SOP’s during their stay in the campus and wearing masks and keeping hand sanitizer is a must.

She also informed students about the strict safety measures taken by the university management for their health and safety purposes.

The respective heads of the departments also briefed students about their code of conduct during pandemic.