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Decision about closure of schools to be based on data: Punjab education minister

Students wearing face masks walk through a street to their school. — AFP/Files

LAHORE: The decision to close or keep the schools open in Punjab will be based on data, the province's education minster Murad Raas said Saturday, as he stressed that "sensible decisions" were needed to be taken.

As the coronavirus cases rise and government mulls strategies to curb the virus' spread, the education minister said that he would make a decision based on data.

Pakistan recorded 42 coronavirus deaths in the last 24 hours — the highest since mid-July. This brought the country's death toll to 7,603.

The country also reported the highest single-day tally in four months as 2,843 people tested positive for the coronavirus, bringing the total number to 371,508.

"If I close the Schools people are not happy. If I keep the schools open people are not happy. Let me just inform everyone that decision will be made on DATA that is being given to me," Raas said in a tweet.

"Lives matter the most. Zero pressure on me from either side. Sensible decisions have to be made," the minister added.

Sindh against early schools closure

Earlier in the day, the Sindh Education and Literacy Department decided not to close schools for the time being or have any winter vacations at all this year, it had emerged after key stakeholders in the provincial education sector met with Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani in the chair.

Ghani, after the meeting, said that the Sindh Education Department's decision represented the province's position and that a national decision on the matter would ultimately be taken on November 23, when representatives of all provinces are to meet and debate the issue.

It was further decided in the meeting that students will not be promoted again without them sitting for examinations.

Close primary schools from Nov 24 to Jan 31

The Federal Ministry of Education, three days earlier, sent proposals to provinces suggesting them to close primary schools from November 24 to January 31, 2021.

The ministry has proposed that primary schools should be closed from November 24, while middle schools should be closed from December 2.

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