- Classes on six days a week: SSC, HSC, PEC examinees
- One day a week: Class I to 9 (except 5)
- 500 schools in 10 flood affected districts cannot resume in-person classes
Children will see their fellow students and teachers in classrooms after 542 days as educational institutions from primary to higher secondary levels reopen Sunday across the country.
Educational institutions went into closure on 17 March 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The students, guardians and teachers are happy with the government's decision to reopen the educational institutions but at the same time they are also in fear of Covid-19 infection.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni yesterday said, the educational institutions will be closed again if the coronavirus infection rises. The health minister earlier voiced a similar opinion.
The education ministry has put emphasis on health safety of teachers and students at the institutions during the classes.
"We have asked the schools, colleges and madrasas to follow the health guideline strictly. Wearing a mask and washing hands are mandatory. Anyone who ignores those instructions will not be allowed in the institutions," Professor Dr Syed Golam Faruk, director general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, told The Business Standard.
"Our team has already started their monitoring. We will punish the institutions that would show any negligence in implementing the health directives," he added.
The students who will take part in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC), Higher Secondary School Certificate (HSC) examinations this year and the next year and Primary Education Completion examination this year will attend classes six days a week. The students will be allowed to stay at schools for only four hours.
As a result, about 90,000 students will attend classes six days a week.
The remaining 3.1 crore students from the primary to secondary level will have classes only for one day a week.
The students of class one, two, three, four, six, seven, eight and nine will attend two classes in a day every week. One student will sit alone on a bench maintaining at least three feet distance from other students.
Most of the schools, colleges and madrasas, have already taken preparation to resume the classes. However, many educational institutions have closed down permanently since the pandemic hit. Besides, there are many institutions in the flood affected areas which cannot reopen until the flood water recedes.
On the first day of reopening the schools, the teachers will brief the students about following the health guidelines and give other relevant academic instructions.
Syed Saiful Islam, vice-principal of Lalkuthi Girls high school and college in Rangpur district, told TBS, "We will discuss the health guideline with the students. We will ask them to follow it firmly. Class routines will be distributed to them on the first day."
Dr Shahan Ara Begum, principal of Motijheel Ideal School and College, told TBS they have made all the arrangements to hold classes following the health guideline.
"On the first day, we will discuss issues related to Covid-19, health and academic activities. We will not do anything which can make the students feel bored after returning to school after 542 days," she added.
There are around two lakh educational institutions in the country from the primary to higher secondary level with 4.5 crore students and over 12 lakh teachers.
Assignments to continue
The education ministry has taken a decision to continue giving assignments for all the classes from six to higher secondary level even after reopening the educational institutions as it might have to close down schools and colleges again if Covid-19 infections rise.
"We will continue assigning work along with running in-person classes as we do not know when the infection rate will increase again. We may become compelled to close the institutions again," Professor Dr Syed Golam Faruk said.
Sorry state of kindergartens
About 55% of eight lakh kindergarten teachers have received vaccines, said the Bangladesh Kindergarten School and College Oikya Parishad.
Iqbal Bahar Chowdhury, president of the Oikya Parishad, said most of the teachers were aged below 30, so they could not get the vaccines.
"A good number of teachers have left the profession and they are unlikely to come back. We will face a shortage of teachers after reopening," he added.
Meanwhile, around 10,000 kindergarten schools out of 60,000 have been closed permanently. The rest of the schools are preparing to reopen.
500 schools are in trouble
About 500 schools in 10 districts including Jamalpur, Gaibandha, Rajbari, Niphamari and Lalmonirhat, have been inundated due to the flood, so they cannot resume classes from today.
Abul Kalam Azad, Shariatpur district primary education officer, said at least 55 primary and secondary schools have been flooded and they cannot reopen before the floodwater recedes.
31 lakh primary school students will not get meals
Suspension of the programme to feed the school students is threatening to increase malnutrition and dropout rate among more than 31 lakh students in the impoverished areas across the country. The programme cannot resume operation until the finance ministry releases the fund for midday meals.
Children of more than 15,000 primary schools have not been getting cooked meals or vitamin-enriched biscuits, which they used to get under the programme, for the last two months.
The Ministry of Primary and Mass Education is yet to get money from the finance ministry to continue the programme extended for the fifth time from July to December this year.
Medical colleges to reopen from 13 September
Government and private medical colleges will hold practical classes every day from 13 September for the first, second and fifth year students with the aim to recover learning losses caused by closure of colleges due to the Covid-19 pandemic since March 2020.
In the pre-Covid period, the medical colleges conducted practical classes for two or three hours a week for first and second year students. Fifth year students were scheduled to engage in practical work for four hours every day.
The new strategy, called "Remedial Package," will increase the daily work hours and help students reach expected competencies in practical knowledge.
Bangladesh English Medium School Parents Forum on Saturday claimed that many guardians of English medium schools are not ready mentally to send their children to schools without getting vaccines.
AKM Ashraful Haque, president of the forum, said, the government must provide vaccines to all the teachers, students and employees before reopening the institutions.