Amid the growing concern over rising Covid-19 infections in the country, Education Minister Dipu Moni today announced that the schools and colleges are not going to be closed for now, rather the vaccination drive will be strengthened.
"A large portion of the students have been vaccinated already. We hope to give all the students at least the first dose by this month," the minister said during a press briefing at the secretariat today.
"Educational institutions will carry on classes as they are doing presently," she added.
Dipu Moni further said, "77 lakh students aged 12-18 are still out of vaccination. Students can get vaccinated after showing school identity cards."
"Next meeting over the issue will be held after 7 days. We will come up with a revised decision if needed," the education minister said, adding "We will strictly monitor if schools are abiding by the health rules."
"Students with certain physical conditions – kidney problems, asthma, should attend classes online," she said.
"Infection percentage isn't the only indicator of the Covid situation in the country," said the minister.
After 12 January, those who didn't have the first dose of Covid-19 vaccine will not be allowed to partake in physical classes, Dipu Moni said, adding that they will partake in online classes.
"University students, teachers are vaccinated, so closing down physical classes at universities will not be logical," the minister remarked.
During the briefing, the education minister also announced that the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams in 2022 will be held following the short syllabus.
The exams will likely take place in June-July, she further added.
Earlier on Sunday (9 January), the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) issued a directive asking the authorities concerned to ensure vaccination of all students aged 12-17 years by that time.
Only the vaccinated students will be able to attend in-person classes at schools and colleges from 15 January, as per a government decision.
Later in the day, the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 suggested to the government that there is no need to shut down educational institutions right now.
"We have recommended continuing in-person academic activities as it is now," said NTAC President Prof Dr Mohammad Shahidullah after a meeting with the education ministry on Sunday.
Shahidullah said the committee will review the Covid-19 situation and sit down again to discuss the best option if necessary.