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ISLAMABAD: The All Pakistan Private Schools and Colleges Association (APPSCA) on Friday rejected the proposed closure of educational institutes due to coronavirus pandemic, and threatened of a countrywide protest.

Addressing at a press conference against the government's possible decision to close educational institutes, office-bearers of the association said that in case of extreme emergency, they were ready to close educational institutes from December 15 to January 5, in consultation with all the stakeholders.

President APPSCA Malik Abrar Hussain said that an attempt to close educational institutes would be unacceptable. The government should not force them on nationwide protests, said Hussain. He further said that in case of emergency, they were ready to close schools from December 15 to January 5, in consultation with the stakeholders.

Strict lockdown should also be imposed at all government offices, markets, transport, and railways along with educational institutes, said Hussain, adding that thousands of educational institutes had been facing financial problems due to the closure on account of corona pandemic.

If school closure is inevitable, government should first provide relief package for private education sector, said Hussain, adding that children's school year had already been wasted.

Hussain further said that internet facility was not available to everyone across the country. How the children in rural and remote areas will get online education as there is no electricity, said Hussain, adding that the government should not take any final decision without consulting the stakeholders.

Due to coronavirus, educational institutes remained closed for six months from March 2020 to September 2020, said Central Secretary General Ashraf Hiraj. Despite the efforts, the loss of female students due this closure has not been compensated, he added. The secretary general said that due to this closure, educational institutions were still suffering from severe financial crisis.

"We salute the teachers who continued education through online classes," said Hiraj, adding that it was very surprising that the government was considering closing schools from November 23.

Earlier, it was informed in summer that winter vacations would not be granted, but now the government was going to decide for a long winter vacations. The office-bearers said that they wanted to put their recommendations to the government before the 23rd November meeting.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2020