Reopening of educational institutions
The recent decision of government to reopen schools on a limited scale is indeed a sensible move. The decision is also cautious, especially considering that the Ministry of Education has issued health-safety guidelines such as mandatory use of face masks, different modes of teaching, and monitoring of health of all concerned in academic institutions. Moreover, another point has been included that all rules of health hygiene should be strictly maintained.
Currently it has been decided that 10th and 12th graders will have to attend classes in person every day while other secondary school and college students may visit their classrooms once a week when their educational institutions will reopen. The government is giving priority to SSC and HSC students right now. On the other hand, students of grades VI, VII, VIII, IX, and XI will come to educational institutions once a week and collect their tasks.
Because of the unprecedented Covid-19 outbreak, the education sector worldwide has been severely hampered. The pandemic induced lockdown which shut down schools, colleges and universities have prevented our students from accessing education. Though distance learning has been introduced, but many millions of students could not avail the opportunity due to poor technological facilities and their inability to afford desktop and laptop computers.
However, on January 19, the interim Education Watch Report 2020-21 said that about 69.5 per cent of students did not participate in distance learning, and 57.9 per cent of them said they could not join the classes due to lack of devices. This distance learning surely created a huge gap in education among the privileged and poor students.
However, we understand that reopening of schools will not be a challenging task. But, the students need to be conscious and responsible on this issue. Lackadaisical attitude on health and safety issues must not be tolerated. Teachers, administrators, students, and school staff to parents - all must abide by health & safety guidelines. Unfortunately, since the global outbreak of the pandemic, we have seen how most people have been flouting these rules in public places and many are not quite aware of the spreading of Covid-19 infections. Countrywide mass awareness campaigns needs to be carried out through all media platforms.
To reopen without ensuring the availability of resources and facilities in compliance to health guidelines may invite grave consequences. Therefore, we urge all educational institutions to be sincere on this issue and follow the directives notified by Ministry of education. And similarly the education ministry must strictly monitor the education institutions, whether they are complying with the guidelines or not.