The provincial education department has completed arrangements for the reopening of educational institutions for students of grade nine and onwards from tomorrow (Tuesday) under the standard operating procedures.
Following a significant fall in fresh novel coronavirus (Covid-19) cases in the province, the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) Elementary, Secondary and Higher Education Departments will reopen all educational institutions in phases.
The Elementary and Secondary Education Department (ESED) has issued a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for all educational institutions, whether public or private. It lists mandatory use of facemasks for all students and teachers, besides ensuring cleanliness and decontamination of schools daily.
Furthermore, educational institutions have been directed to make arrangements for soaps and water for the frequent washing of hands by students and teachers at regular intervals, ensure minimum social distancing amongst students in classrooms and avoid shaking of hands and hugging.
Furthermore, holding assemblies and other gatherings, besides taking or sharing of meals, should be avoided. Parents have been advised to not send their children to class if they show Covid-19 symptoms.
The department has warned that strict action will be taken against those teachers, students and parents in case they defy the government-prescribed SOPs.
To ensure the implementation of SOPs, the K-P government has constituted special committees at the district and individual school level. This will be a representative committee of all stakeholders.
The school committees will be headed by a headmaster, other teachers and community members. These committees will in turn be monitored by the K-P Education Monitoring Authority. Further, District Education Officers (DEOs) will lead the six-member monitoring committees in their respective districts.
These committees would ensure implementation of SOPs in schools, colleges and universities besides prepare reports of teachers and students in case of symptoms of Covid-19, which will be submitted to the education department weekly.
Meanwhile, a mega-development plan has been formulated for revival and development of the education sector in the province in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Special focus will be placed on the construction of new schools, colleges, recruitment of teachers, infrastructure development and strengthening of public sector universities.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 14th, 2020.