By Minahil Makhdoom
ISLAMABAD: Federal Minister for Education, Professional Training and National Heritage Shafqat Mehmood Wednesday said the government was planning to start a Radio channel for imparting education to students affected by the closure of schools and colleges due to coronavirus outbreak.
Speaking in National Assembly on a motion moved by Prime Ministerâ€™s Advisor on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan to discuss the situation arising out of current pandemic COVID-19, he said, â€œWe are planning to launch a Radio channel for students whose studies had been affected due to closure of schools after start of coronavirus pandemic.â€
He said a teleschool channel was available for students for 10 hours daily from 8 am to 6 pm. During the morning session, juniors were given classes followed by classes for seniors. The channel was broadcasting programmes from 8 in the morning till 6 in the evening every day and delivered content for the students of grades 1 to 12, he added.
He said the morning session included classes on English, Maths, Urdu and General Science dedicated for junior students while the next session which includes all subjects was for senior students. The minister also paid tribute to doctors, paramedical , nursing staff and police and administration and government employees for performing their duties during coronavirus. He said unfortunately the opposition parties had not put forward any suggestion to control the coronavirus. â€œThe opposition is just doing politics on the issueâ€ , he added.
He said the objective of the session was to come up with a joint strategy to deal with coronavirus, but it looked difficult as opposition was not serious on the issue. He said it was a good sign that spread of coronavirus in Pakistan was not as severe as it was in the rest of the world. â€œThe condition is much better if compared to rest of the world,â€ he added.
He said National Command and Control Centre (NCCC) had been established for the coordination among provinces to formulate a joint strategy to deal with the COVID-19. He dispelled the impression that the government was confused on lockdown and said the government would continue to take care of daily wagers and poor people.
Shahida Akhtar Ali while participating in the debate said that COVID-19 had affected the whole world and their economies. She thanked Speaker National Assembly Asad Qaiser for constituting a parliamentary committee on COVID-19 and said suggestions put in it should be implemented to avoid spread of coronavirus in the country.
She asked the government to come up with a comprehensive strategy to deal with the coronavirus effectively. â€œThe whole nation is looking towards Parliament for clear policy on the deadly coronavirus. It is responsibility of the elected representatives to help government in devising an effective policy on COVID-19.
She said proper monitoring policy should be devised to check the relief activities across the country. Shahid Khaqan Abbasi called on the federal government to lay out a comprehensive plan regarding official measures being taken to curb the coronavirus pandemic. He said wearing of mask should be made compulsory for people visiting public places.
MNA Salahuddin paid tribute to doctors, paramedics and hospital staff for staying and fighting in the frontline against the coronavirus pandemic. He appreciated China for sending consignments of medical equipment to Pakistan.
He said businesses suffered losses due to the lockdown imposed in Sindh. The lockdown was mismanaged in urban areas of Sindh, he added. Raja Pervaiz Ashraf said the challenge of the coronavirus could be tackled by rising above petty political considerations and by staying united. He said Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party Bilawal Bhutto had shown willingness to extend cooperation to the government on the issue of coronavirus.
Amir Haider Hoti said the number of infections were rising in the country despite the fact that people were reluctant to undergo tests and go to hospitals for medical treatment. He said there was still lack of awareness about coronavirus and the government would have to sensitize public on the issue. Pakistan failed to make adequate investments in the health sector in its 70 years history, he added.
He said provincial autonomy was guaranteed in the 18th amendment of the constitution and after devolution of powers, the responsibility of provinces had increased and they needed more financial resources not less. Ghous Bux Mehr said politicians should stop bickering and concentrate on the fight against coronavirus. He said it was not possible to provide food to people in their homes because of lack of resources. He said power loadshedding should be avoided during Ramazan to give relief to the people.
Moulana Abdul Akbar Chitrali said at present Pakistani students were satisfied with the conditions in China and felt more secure and wanted to stay there. Mohsin Dawar said internet facility should be increased in the tribal areas. He said more testing facilities were needed to tackle the coronavirus. Andleeb Abbas said the world was working on a vaccine to treat the coronavirus. â€œWe have to live with the coronavirus while protecting lives and livelihoods.â€
She said the government was right in not bringing the students from China. In many ways Pakistan fared better than even developed countries and took steps to quarantine its citizens, she added. Khawaja Saad Rafique suggested steps to improve facilities at quarantine centers and reduce the prices of coronavirus tests. He claimed PMLN had made tremendous contribution to the health sector in Punjab. He said financial relief should be given to farmers and business community.