Students under 18 or without NIDs will have to complete their Covid vaccine registrations on the UGC website
Public universities can resume in-person academic activities any day after September 27 if all of the students can complete registration for Covid-19 vaccines by that date.
The decision was taken on Tuesday at a meeting chaired by Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni with officials of the University Grants Commission (UGC), the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC), and the vice-chancellors (VCs) of the public universities.
“The syndicate and academic council may decide to open the university any time after September 27,” Dr Dipu Moni said following the meeting.
According to the latest decision, university students who are yet to register for Covid-19 vaccines have to complete their registration by September 27 through using their national ID cards.
Students who do not have national ID cards can register on Surokkha platform by using birth certificates.
The students will need to submit their birth registration information to the UGC.
The commission will publish a web link on Wednesday through which the students can submit their information. The UGC will pass on the information to the health directorate.
Even if university students are aged below 18, they can complete their registration by using their birth certificates despite the fact that the vaccination cut-off age is yet 18 and over.
Students after completing their registration can go to the medical centre of their respective university and receive the vaccine or go to their nearest vaccination centre.
The Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) will facilitate the necessary assistance for the students in this regard.
The government will prioritise vaccinating the students of the universities when their academic council or syndicate finalizes the date for reopening.
The whole process will also be applicable to undergraduate and postgraduate students at the National University and other affiliated colleges.
The decision comes at a time when the country is witnessing a drop in Covid-19 cases and deaths in recent weeks.
Schools and colleges across the country resumed in-person academic activities on Sunday. Medical and dental colleges reopened on Monday.
What the VCs say
The VCs of a number of universities told the meeting that around 50% of students had already taken their first dose of the vaccine.
If the remaining students can complete their registration in due time, the universities will reopen after September 27.
Jahangirnagar University (JU) VC Prof Farzana Islam said her university might reopen in the first week of October as almost all the students had completed their vaccine registration.
Prof Satya Prasad Majumder, VC of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), expressed his hope that all students would be vaccinated within September.
He said almost 50% students of Buet had already taken the first dose of the vaccine while some had even taken the second dose.
Dhaka University (DU) VC Prof Md Akhtaruzzaman said that DU students had been registering as per the previous plan.
The authorities would resume classes early if the students of the resident hall were inoculated fast, he added.
Shahjalal University of Science and Technology (SUST) VC Prof Farid Uddin Ahmed told Dhaka Tribune: “We will try to resume classes in early October.”
However, UGC Secretary Prof Ferdous Zaman told Dhaka Tribune that the universities might take time till October 15 to complete their reopening procedure.
So far, 1.75 million out of 3.9 million students have registered for Covid-19 vaccines.
Of them, around 450,000 received the first dose of the vaccine, while 90,000 received both the shots, according to information submitted to the UGC by the universities so far.
Many public universities, including DU, JU and SUST, have been holding online tests since July – a 15-month hiatus – to avoid the session jam triggered by the pandemic.
On August 26, the education ministry held a meeting where it was decided that the universities might resume classes on their own decision after October 15 after they vaccinated students. The primary decision was to complete the vaccination by September 15.