Education Minister 'Shocked' By Demands To Close Schools

Education Minister 'Shocked' By Demands To Close Schools
Punjab Minister for Education Murad Raas has expressed shock at people asking him to shut down schools over the smog situation, saying that such people are ignorant.

People have for a while been demanding the closure of schools over the worsening smog situation in the province in general and Lahore in particular. On Friday, students, civil society activists, and labour leaders protested in front of the Environment Protection Agency against smog and environmental degradation in Lahore.

The minister revealed on Twitter that people have been messaging him to shut down schools.

He said, “When people send me messages to shut schools for some odd reasons, I am shocked. The learning losses our Children have suffered are tremendous since COVID. At this point, Schools should be last place to ever shut down. Who are these ignorant people? Unbelievable!”.


Earlier, on October 11, The National Command and Operations Centre (NCOC) announced that all educational institutions will start “normal classes”. Before this, the educational institutions were operating on 50 percent capacity after they reopened following intermittent closures due to the prevalence of COVID-19.

Pakistan's schools have been heavily hit by the pandemic. Students have experienced several school closures, and experts speculate that such a loss could have impacts for years to come.

Schools in Pakistan were closed for around seven months during the first Covid wave. However, they reopened in September 2020 and were closed again in November.

The government announced another phased opening of educational institutions in January of this year. However, this reopening was also short-lived, as schools closed again in April 2021 due to the third wave.

In a country already scarred by stark differences in the quality of education between public and private schools, as well as low literacy rates, the pandemic has affected the learning of approximately 40 million students across Pakistan. The World Bank has claimed that "even the most optimistic scenario suggests an overall loss of learning for every child enrolled."