Minister for Federal Education and Professional Training Shafqat Mahmood has said that exams for class nine and 12 will be held after the fourth week of the next month (May). In a series of tweets, the minister said that decisions regarding the education process in wake of Covid-19 pandemic, were taken at a special meeting of health and education ministers of all provinces, Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) and Gilgit-Baltistan held on Sunday with consensus. He said that exams for class 9th and 12th will take place according to the new date sheets announced by the Boards. The minister said that classes 9 to 12 would commence in affected districts in a staggered manner to allow students to prepare for board exams. He said that university admissions schedule will be adjusted keeping in view the new exams timetable He said that it was also decided with complete consensus among ministers that the A, AS, O level and International General Certificate of Secondary Education exams will take place as per the date sheet announced by CAIES. He said there will be no delay or cancellation. He said those students wishing to take exams in October or November this year can do so in the same fee already paid. Shafqat Mahmood said the meeting was also informed that Cambridge has decided not to give teacher assessed grades this year; therefore, those not taking exams will take them in the next cycle of October and November. He said that Cambridge also assured that all SOPs will be strictly followed. The minister said that universities in affected districts will continue online while in districts with less than eight percent positivity they will continue to function. Previously, the government decided to extend the closure of schools – classes 1 to 8 – in the districts most affected by the coronavirus till the 28th of April. Speaking to the media, Shafqat had said that classes 9 to 12 would resume from April 19, even in the most-affected districts with strict adherence to the precautionary standard operating procedures (SOPs), while the board exams would be held from the third week of May. “These classes [1 to 8] can take place online but there will be no physical presence during the sessions,” he said. “It is the prerogative of the provinces to decide as to which of their districts are most affected and require strict measures.” Punjab Education Minister Murad Raas on Sunday announced that on-campus classes for classes 9-12 in coronavirus affected districts of the province will commence from Monday (today) with 50 percent attendance on Mondays and Thursdays. “Classes 9,10,11,12 will open tomorrow (April 19th, 2021) with 50% students on Monday and 50% on Thursday,” the minister said in a tweet. He said that a staggered approach will be implemented in order to mitigate the virus spread. He was referring to an earlier tweet in which he had announced the resumptions of classes for grades 9-12 in Lahore, Rawalpindi, Faisalabad, Sheikhupura, Gujranwala, Gujrat, Sialkot, Multan, Toba Tek Singh, Sargodha, Bahawalpur, Rahim Yar Khan and Dera Ghazi Khan. The minister had said the remaining districts would follow their regular schedule. Sindh Education Minister Saeed Ghani on Sunday announced that in view of the growing number of coronavirus cases in the province, physical classes for grades I to VIII will remain suspended at all public and private schools till May 1. However, the education minister stated that schools should continue the education process through alternative means including homework, online classes, WhatsApp as well as email. On the other hand, Ghani informed that classes for students from grades 9 to 12 will however continue with 50 per cent attendance in classes. All public and private schools will also be required to fully implement all issued SOPs, he observed. Earlier this month, on April 4, Ghani had announced the suspension of on-campus classes for grades I to VIII for 15 days, from April 6 to April 21, in all public and private schools of the province. The education minister said the decision had been taken keeping in view the worsening pandemic situation. He added that during the said period, schools could conduct online classes, correspond with students and parents via WhatsApp and email, and parents could visit schools to collect homework.