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ISLAMABAD: Federal Education Minister Shafqat Mahmood said on Monday that the country has taken various steps to curb the spread of coronavirus pandemic and the ministry is willing to keep educational institutions open.

Shafqat Mahmood, while addressing a press conference, said that there is a lot of difference between academic sessions in education centres and online version of studies. He reiterated that the final decision regarding the closure of the educational institutions will be made on March 24.

The education ministry is willing to keep the education centres open as online education cannot be equated with regular classes. He added that students are not happy with the online classes and it is a very difficult decision to decide on the closure of schools.

While commenting on the uniform education system, Mahmood said that private and government schools are following their own curriculum which distributes the whole country. In the seminaries, students are being taught Dars-e-Nizami and their certification is also different, he added.

He urged that a curriculum should be designed that does not hurt anyone’s religious values. The Centre could not issue any notification in this regards, hence the matter was handed over to the provincial government, said the education minister.

He said that the provincial governments have given authority to its textbook board following the higher authorities’ decision.

Mahmood also said that the education authorities were not willing to end the publishers’ industry. He was of the view that what was the requirement of getting another permission after the Centre issues a NOC. Mahmood said that after the 18th amendment, the authorities are with the provinces.

He said that the federal government initiated a skill development programme under which many people are receiving training.