GUWAHATI: After a hiatus of six months, the schools in four states of the Northeast reopened on Monday but attendance was thin.
While Assam, Meghalaya, Mizoram, and Nagaland decided on imparting lessons for students of class 9 to 12 students on voluntary basis and in deference to the Centre’s guidelines, Tripura, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh decided against it.
The government had asked students to come with a written consent from parents or guardians. Only 20 students of a class were allowed to attend the classes at a time. Wherever it was more than 20, the classes were taken in two shifts.
The government schools in Assam, other than those turned into quarantine centres for Covid-19, reopened but many private schools did not. Fifty per cent of teaching and non-teaching staff attended school. They as well as the students came wearing masks.
“We don’t have the exact percentage of students who turned up but we received reports that they came for the classes across the state,” Rumi Choudhury, who is the Deputy Director in Assam’s Directorate of Secondary Education, told this newspaper.
She agreed that a lot of parents did not send their wards to schools due to the fear about the pandemic.
Syed Anisur Rahman, who is the general secretary of Assam Higher Secondary Teachers and Employees’ Association, said it was a good beginning.
“We welcome it although very few students attended the classes. Nobody will dispute that students learn more from a class taken in a classroom compared to online classes. However, we have suggested that the online classes must not be stopped,” Rahman said.
Attendance was thin in rest of the states. In an order issued recently, the Nagaland government had said 50 per cent teaching and non-teaching staff from outside containment zones would be allowed to come to schools. It also said the students of classes IX-XII may be permitted to visit their schools on voluntary basis for taking guidance from teachers subject to written consent of their parents or guardians.
Meghalaya Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui said students could meet their teachers to clear doubts. There will neither be regular classes nor classroom sessions, he said. Among all states in the Northeast, Assam is the worst-affected by the pandemic.