Need for early decision

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COVID-19 related restrictions for all sectors and spheres of life have almost been lifted and routine activities started but the authorities concerned seem to be clueless about what to do with educational institutions and marriage halls. At an interactive session on Wednesday, the Centre and provinces have agreed on the reopening of schools, colleges and universities in the first week of September after five months closure but this is still not final decision which would be made after reviewing the situation in August.
The participants agreed that schools, colleges and universities should be allowed to resume operations across the country in the first week of September under strict enforcement of the standard operating procedures (SOPs) to prevent the spread of coronavirus. However, one may ask if the educational institutions are to open under strict SOPs then why not allow them to reopen now with same requirements. This is because continued closure of educational institutions is a colossal loss to students and parents as well as owners of private institutions. No doubt, they are receiving fee despite closure of the institutions but many of them are facing the stark reality of permanent closure due to a variety of reasons. Parents too are legitimately protesting that they are forced to pay heavy fee without their children getting anything in the name of studies/learning. Online teaching is no solution in a country like Pakistan where vast areas are without Internet or signals are too weak. Similarly, majority of parents are not in a position to help their kids prepare lessons in the light of guidelines given by educational institutions. In the case of street schools, located in small houses, it would be quite difficult to observe SOPs especially social distancing but educational institutions with spacious buildings can definitely manage the situation. A solution should be found in consultation with all stakeholders. Similarly, marriage hall owners are also protesting over financial losses being incurred by them and with this in view, a possibility of allowing gatherings under SOPs may also be considered.

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