Private schools associations warned on Wednesday of staging protests across Sindh if on-campus classes for grades I-VIII were not resumed.
Addressing a press conference, the representatives of private schools demanded from the Sindh chief minister and provincial taskforce on Covid-19 to immediately allow the resumption of physical classes in schools, get the teachers of all private and public schools vaccinated on a priority basis, compel Cambridge to postpone and O and A Level exams and ban social and political gatherings.
The private school representatives also reviewed the developments following a meeting of the Sindh education department's steering committee on April 4, Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani's press conference the next day, when a 15-day suspension of on-campus classes till grade VIII and a National Command and Operation Centre (NCOC) meeting on April 6.
They maintained that while the closure of schools for two weeks was proposed in the steering committee meeting, all participants, including private school representatives and steering committee members, had turned down the suggestion.
Then, there was no need for the education minister to issue the notification for the suspension of classes in haste on Sunday, the representatives decried, adding that Covid-19 situation in Sindh was better than in other provinces.
According to them, 80,000 tests for the contagion were conducted in Sindh's educational institutions and only 2.6 per cent samples were found infected, while schools ensured that all pandemic-related standard operating procedures (SOPs) were properly followed.
They also claimed that Ghani, during the press conference on Sunday, gave the false impression that steering committee members had supported the closure of schools.
If that was the case, why wasn't the notification for the closure of schools issued the same day when the steering committee meeting was held, they questioned, further adding that had it been the case, there wouldn't have been the need for inviting proposals with regards to the closure of schools amid the third wave of the pandemic.
The private school representatives also pointed out that the suspension of physical classed at the time would make it difficult to conduct exams for grades up till eight in June.
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Quoting Ghani, they said the minister had asserted that all decision regarding implementation of pandemic-related SOPs were being taken in line with the NCOC's instruction, but then why didn't he wait for the NCOC meeting on April 6 before issuing the notification for the suspension of physical classes on Sunday.
The NCOC has suspended academic activities only in virus hotspots and Ghani himself admitted that no district in Sindh was badly affected by the pandemic, they contended.
They stressed the need for the education department to take all stakeholders, including private schools, on board while making decisions.