After the prolonged wave of COVID-19 disease in Pakistan, the government of Sindh has decided to open the educational institutes step by step after the interprovincial meeting headed by Federal Minister Education Shafqat Mehmood. The Sindh Government announced to open universities, colleges and secondary classes, middle classes and primary classes on 15th, 22nd and 28th September respectively.

However, due to the sudden increase in COVID-19 cases, the date for opening middle classes was scheduled a week later. Education Minister Sindh Saeed Ghani announced to open all types of schools from 28th September with strict directions of ensuring the proper follow up of SOPs. Monitoring committees have also been constituted to monitor the implementation of SOPs in schools. After taking such a daring and risky decision by the Education Minister Sindh, it is sad to say that our Education Minister Sindh, who hardly spares his time from the political affairs, strictly instructed to follow the SOPs in all schools. 

Before making these decisions, it was mandatory to know the current situation of schools where there is the unavailability of basic facilities, particularly primary and middle sections. How can the parents of each student manage separate drinking water bottles and new disposable masks on daily basis? How can the students keep social distancing in such schools where the classes are overcrowded and students are made to sit on grounds due to a shortage of furniture? How can the life of children who are the future of the country be put into the face of fatal disease without any proper planning and provision of safety material in the schools? Before opening schools, it would have been better for the government to form district-level committees for identification of those schools where enrollment and headcount ratio is high, provide safety kits to selected schools and conduct awareness sessions for teachers, students and parents. The decision of opening schools and their monitoring should have been taken after ensuring the provision of kits and awareness.

ALI GULLEGHARI,

Dadu.