The National Command and Operation Center (NCOC) on Thursday said the educational institutions should be opened on top-down basis, starting from universities, colleges and high schools. The NCOC session held with a single-point agenda of opening of educational institutions across Pakistan. The representatives of educational institutions including public, private and madaris were invited to the session for taking all stakeholders on board. All provincial focal persons including those form Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit Baltistan (GB) joined the meeting through video link. The NCOC apprised the participants about present situation at global, regional and Pakistan’s own Covid-19 curve. Participants were informed about risks and challenges involved after opening of educational institutions as it involves children of all ages. The participants were informed that these challenges were mapped after hectic and lengthy consultations with international experts, academia and think tanks.Speaking on the occasion, Federal Minister for Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mehmood said there are two basic challenges to open educational institutions in two areas including what are the indicators for opening and what measures have been taken to ensure health guidelines, including ensuring use of face mask, social distancing and hygiene measures. Shafqat Mehmood said that final decision would be taken on September 7 after consensus and input from all the stakeholders. The NCOC suggested gradual opening of educational institutions based on the best practices and input from various experts.The forum proposed that educational institutions be opened on top-down as well as rotational basis. Timings of different institutions be staggered along with suspension of various activities which involve contraction and mass gatherings including co-curricular activities. “Educational institutions must ensure all Covid-19 safety protocols and prepare accordingly ahead of the final decision,” the meeting said.