September 21. That is from when schools can partially reopen, as per the Unlock 4.0 guidelines issued by the Centre. However, not all states are comfortable with the idea. Parents across the board are wary because of the pandemic though some senior students are upbeat.
While Delhi and Congress-ruled Punjab turned it down, southern states like Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Telangana appear to be sitting on the fence for now. According to TN school education minister K A Sengottaiyan, any decision on reopening shall be taken only after there is some relief from the pandemic.
Bihar and Madhya Pradesh, too, are yet to make up their minds.
However, Karnataka, Uttar Pradesh, Assam, Uttarakhand, Andhra Pradesh and Jharkhand are gearing up to open schools for students of classes 9-12. As for Kerala, it will take up the matter at a state cabinet meeting on September 16. According to experts, it is inevitable that schools will have to open soon.
“Online mode cannot replace the traditional classroom teaching method completely. Hence students, especially in higher classes, can be allowed to get guidance from teachers on an individual basis at schools,” said noted educationist R V G Menon.
Karnataka plans to announce its own guidelines shortly. According to S Suresh Kumar, minister for primary and secondary education, the state government has already taken steps for facilitating regular student-teacher interaction.
“Not just of 9-10, children of all classes are engaged through Vidyagama,” he said.
Vidyagama is a programme under which teachers meet students in their neighbourhood to conduct activities and clear their doubts.
In Andhra Pradesh, the government is “mulling whether to ask teachers of all subjects to come every day in the regular school hours or whether to have specific days for specific subjects,” said Principal Secretary (Education) B Rajasekhar.
"Neighbouring Telangana and Maharashtra are yet to take their call. A decision will be made based on the situation,” said R Rohini, District Education Officer of Hyderabad.
Odisha doesn’t have plans to open schools anytime soon. All educational institutions in the state have been directed to remain closed till Durga Puja.
Delhi, too, is wary. “Many parents requested us not open schools. I want to assure all of you that schools will remain closed till we are fully in control of the coronavirus,” Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal had said last month.
There is no change in his position. According to Ashok Agarwal, president of the All India Parents Association, 80% of parents in Delhi are against school reopening.
Though Rajasthan has not yet offered any official reaction, most teachers, students and parents don’t want schools to re-start from September 21.
Assam is planning informal voluntary classes for students above Class V from the last week of this month. Haryana will start classes for students of classes 10-12 in two government schools on a trial basis, as most parents have given their consent, said a state government official.
Revised Central advisory on holding exams
Ahead of the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test next week, the Centre on Thursday issued a revised SOP, which said that the discretion of whether or not to allow a Covid symptomatic candidate to write the test will lie with the examination authorities
(With inputs from our bureaux in Bengaluru, T’Puram, Bhubaneswar, Chennai, Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Delhi, Lucknow, Raipur, Patna, Chandigarh, Jaipur, Ranchi, Bhopal and Mumbai)