- Four lakh students in 250 registered schools
- 30-40% privately registered students
- Some schools yet to receive directives on where to send student list
- No one responsible for preparing list of private students
Students of English-medium schools, especially those who have registered private for their 'O' level and 'A' level examinations, are facing uncertainty over receiving vaccines as many are yet to receive instructions to register for the jabs.
While some English-medium schools have been asked to send a list of their students to the health ministry, many have received no such directives.
For students who registered privately for their 'O' and 'A' level exams, the situation is more troubling as no one has taken any responsibility for them.
Professor Nazmul Islam, spokesperson, Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), told The Business Standard that privately-registered students had no connections with any schools, so there wasn't an exact authority to provide a list of their names for vaccinations. This has proven to be a problem, but a solution was being sought for it.
"The schools usually send lists of the students to the health ministry for vaccine enlistment. We will send those to the ICT ministry for the names to be added in the vaccine app. But we are in confusion about who will send the list of private students," he said.
"We will not be able to provide vaccines if we do not get the list. We also do not know exactly how many students are studying privately," he added.
Without being vaccinated, 'A' Level students will not be able to go abroad for their higher education.
Sources at the Bangladesh English-Medium School Association said there are about four lakh students in the country's 250 registered schools. About 30-40% students are taking part in 'O' and 'A' level examinations by registering privately.
Even the British Council, which supervises the students for their examinations, is yet to take any initiative to send a list of private students so they can receive the vaccines.
Afroza Sharmin, head of communications, Marketing, British Council Bangladesh, told TBS that the British Council Bangladesh did not make any list of the private students for vaccinations and neither did they get any instruction from the health ministry to do so.
"We always help the government' initiative. We are yet to get any letters from the government about providing vaccinations or providing lists," she said.
GM Nizam Uddin, president of Bangladesh English-Medium School Association, told TBS that they have been providing vaccines to school students though the vaccination centres, but they had no list of private students.
"Private students have no relation with English-medium schools. They independently apply for examinations through the British Council and other places," he said.
Health ministry sources said the ministry was thinking of making another app for private students to ensure their vaccinations and make the process easier.
On October 18, The Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education (DSHE) asked school students outside Dhaka city to send information for taking Covid-19 vaccines as the government has decided to inoculate students aged between 12- 17 across the country.
The DSHE instructed students of all educational institutions outside Dhaka city to provide their information to concerned upazila or thana secondary education officers through email after filling up a particular form by 23 October.
Finally, the ministry started giving vaccines to the students on 1 November. A total of about 90,000 doses of vaccines were given till Sunday.
Health Minister Zahid Maleque said they planned to provide three crore doses of vaccines gradually to the students, with 30,000 jabs per day.
In Dhaka, the DSHE provides vaccines to students at eight centres -- Hurdco International School, Southpoint School and College, Chittagong Grammar School, Ideal School and College, Mirpur Commerce School and College, Kakoli High School and College, South Breeze School, and Scholastica School in Mirpur.
On October 14, some 112 students of four government schools in Manikganj were vaccinated with Pfizer jabs as part of a test run.