The government may consider reopening educational institutions - on a limited scale - after two weeks, says the education minister
The government has extended the closure of all educational institutions except Qawmi madrasas across Bangladesh till November 14, to prevent Covid-19 transmission.
Education Minister Dipu Moni confirmed the matter in a briefing on Thursday.
She said: “Educational institutions will be closed for the next two weeks. We will monitor the situation during this time. We will take further decisions after consulting with the concerned people if the situation would be favourable to reopen the educational institutions then.”
The minister, however, said the opening of educational institutions might be considered - on a limited scale, by maintaining health safety measures - after two weeks.
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“Considering next year's Secondary School Certificate (SSC), Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and its equivalent examinations, we will see if we can reopen the educational institutions on a limited scale,” she said.
“Those who will take part in the public examinations next year have had their studies disrupted. If we can open on a limited scale, they can finish their syllabus before the exam,” the education minister added.
When asked if there is a possibility of postponing next year's SSC exams, the minister said, "We will see if there is any health risk for the students. If needed, we can postpone. That will depend on the situation. We can't say right now when we will take the exam. We will make a decision when the time comes.”
Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel said: “The educational institutions are on a holiday since the start of the pandemic. However, you have to keep the habit of going to the educational institutions. As the number of students at a school is specific, they can start that habit by attending the exams.”
Earlier in March, the government ordered all the schools, colleges and universities across the country to close down on March 17, after the first cases of Covid-19 in Bangladesh were reported on March 8.
The shutdown has since been extended several times, with the latest one issued on Thursday.
The government has been running a distance-learning program through Sangsad Television for schools and colleges. Classes are taking place on Facebook and YouTube for primary and secondary-level students as well.
Many universities have also started online classes to keep up with their coursework.
Primary schools, kindergartens
All government and private primary schools and kindergartens will also be closed till November 14.
A notice was served from the Ministry of Primary and Mass Education on Thursday, regarding the matter.
During this time, the students would have to stay in their respective residences and houses to protect themselves and others from Covid-19 infection.
According to the notice, the students have to abide by the guidelines and disciplines issued from the Prime Minister's Office, Cabinet Division, Ministry of Public Administration, and Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).
Parents will ensure that students are accommodated, and the local administration will closely monitor it, the notice mentioned.
However, the principals of the schools concerned will need to ensure, with the help from the concerned parents, that their respective students stay at home and continue to study their textbooks, read the notice.
Dipu Moni said the government will not distribute books to school students at the start of next year. The ministry is contemplating on different ways to distribute the books later.
Ministry wants integrated university admission test
Regarding this year’s admission test at the public universities, the education minister said: "We will make sure that everyone’s interest is protected in this regard.”
She called upon the government to give importance to the integrated admission test.
Dr Dipu Moni said: "If everyone starts taking physical exams, we will see what kind of situation it creates. However, if the admission test is taken in an integrated manner, the suffering of the students will be reduced and the time spent will be less.”
Govt considers reopening university and college
The government is mulling over the possibilities of opening the universities and colleges in the country on a limited scale, the education minister said.
She said the students at this level are matured. So, they are contemplating how to open these institutions.
"We have different ideas like if necessary, the classes can be taken by dividing the students into smaller groups,” she mentioned.
Dipu Moni said all decisions will be informed in due course in this regard.
She also said the education ministry will soon issue a notice on educational institutions taking extra fees.