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A historical dialogue with a sitting minister of Pakistan regarding the potential plans for our kids’ education and the planned strategies. Not a lot (read none) of the ministers have ever come live on social media platforms such as facebook to answer the worries and queries of mothers and parents.

Let’s hear it from the man himself on the subject of all the fright and confusion regarding schooling and covid-19 circumstances.

  • What will these holidays be considered as?

These holidays will be measured as summer holidays. The notification for the holidays will be sent within this week and it will state that the recommended holidays will be till May 31st. It will be announced on social media and on TV, so don’t worry there will be no confusion about that. These are the official summer holidays.

  • So when will the new annual year start?

From 1st June as the holidays now are being considered as the summer holidays.

  • If these are the summer holidays then will there be homework?

Yes we will ask the schools to give summer homework to the kids as these are the summer holidays so enjoy this time with the kids.

  • So if the new academic year starts from 1st June, how will the kids be assessed and on what basis will they be promoted onto the next class?

Kids from grade 1 to grade 8, will be given their summer homework and if they complete it and submit it after the holidays they shall be promoted to the next class there shall be no exams for them in these kind of conditions.

  • And since June and July are the peak of our summer heat how will we manage to save the kids from the scorching heat?

We will change the timings in the summer and if there is a heat wave we will give a few days off since this is an emergency situation we will need to adjust to some conditions.

  • Can the fees be waived off or at least be reduced as due to this emergency most of the businesses have come to a halt?

They can’t be waived off and cannot be reduced to half as we need to understand that the schools also have to pay the teachers and their other staff as well if we force them they will let go of the teachers and that’s something we don’t want.

But yes there is a recommended percentage which will be reduced from the fees and it will be announced within a couple of days. Do not pay any fees at the moment and wait for the notification from the government.

  • Some schools are conducting on line classes and some are giving homework and some are not doing anything?

We don’t think the online classes are as efficient so we are recommending the schools to give homework packs like they do during the summer holidays which the kids can do in their holidays and give in after the holidays have finished. There will be no online classes from preschool to class 8.

  • Will the schools have summer camps if these are the summer holidays?

NO! This is a war-like situation where we need to take efficient measures to control this pandemic. We can’t take it lightly.

  • What about metric and FSC practical and board examinations?

All are postponed to later part of June.

  • What about O and A level exams?

Yes, those are also postponed and Cambridge will decide all about that.

  • After these summer holidays and the new academic year starting from 1st June when will the next holidays begin?

The holidays will be in December then after all this.

  • And keeping in mind the unpredictable situation of smog which we experienced the worst this year, how will we tackle that?

Corona is a more pressing concern right now and we want to take full measures to tackle this problem at the moment. And yes one good thing about the lockdown that we have noticed is the good air quality that has returned to our environment but let’s face this crises right now.

  • What about grade 9 kids?

Well since they have to give their board exams their assessments are postponed till June all the other kids will have no exams and will be assessed on their homework given to them.

  • So even if we have summer homework given to us right now , there will be no book shops open for purchasing materials and stuff because of the lockdown?

We will see into this. Let the schools give their homework and we can decide to keep a concerned shops open for your purchases for a few days.

  • Can the government give relief to parents who have no means to give fees right now as the schools will be asking for 3 month fees during these holidays? Can there be a system where we can pay in installments?

Do not pay the fees right now for 3 months. Please wait for my official notification for more clarity as we will have reduced the fees and you will only have to pay 1 month’s fees at a time.

  • What are the precautions the schools will have to take so that this outbreak of covid-19 doesn’t bounce back?

We will give mandatory SOP precautionary measures to all the schools two weeks before the opening. There will be random checking on the schools to enforce all those precautionary measures.

  • The universities have taken the semester fees? What will happen now?

The universities come under the higher education department whose minister is Raja Yasir and I assure you he would surely help you out with your concerned questions.

  • For 9th graders who haven’t even been going to school regularly this year because of the smog crisis and then this covid- 19 pandemic. What’s the solution for them?

I suggested that we should take their exam in the form of MCQs (multiple choice questions) instead of these full fledge exams. But this is still undecided and let’s sees what gets decided.

  • When will we have complete clarity on all these issues?

Just give us a week or so and it will be announced on social media very soon.

  • All the working moms and all other moms who now have to work from home, clean, cook, wash and now teach the kids also because of the lockdown, isn’t it unfair for us?

Well this is a critical time and definitely hard for all of us especially mothers. But we are coming up with different solutions for these issues and as a first we have decided to initiate on PTV (Pakistan Television) a channel which will teach classes of different subjects all day long so kids can learn from home.

Let’s be patient. We are trying to do as much as we possibly can. We were caught off guard by this pandemic but we will come up with relief very soon.

There were already fee reductions set by the Supreme Court earlier but nothing was implemented by the government. Why isn’t is made mandatory on the schools?

The order to reduce fees last time was implemented however this time when the court gave the order and the government sent us to implement the order, the schools went to court also and we are still fighting against the schools till now. According to the law we can only cancel their registrations if they don’t cooperate. In Lahore only we have cancelled registrations of over 90 schools because they were not reducing their fees. We are however coming up with new laws which will take time and approvals from assemblies to give the power to the government to decide with the schools the amount of fees they can charge. Because nobody is ready to execute the order of the court. But I assure you I will not spare anybody who doesn’t abide by these laws once they are put in motion.

  • How do we complain about certain schools that do not reduce fees no matter what?

After the court orders have been given and the law has been passed we will have portals where you can write complaint about the fees of your schools.

  • Will teachers be paid in full?

Yes they will be.

Amna Batool

Amna Batool

Blogger, Designer, Entrepreneur

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