Physical classes will not resume until all students, teachers are vaccinated, says Education Ministry
The Ministry of Education has decided to wait as long as necessary to resume in-person educational activities in universities as it plans to vaccinate all students, teachers and staff before a reopening of the institutions, which have remained shut since March 18, 2020, due to Covid-19.
The decision was taken during a virtual meeting held on Monday.
The education minister, University Grants Commission (UGC) high officials, vice chancellors (VC) of the country’s public universities, and officials of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), took part in the meeting.
They stressed that the universities would only reopen for physical classes after all the students had got their vaccine jabs.
However, till then, online classes and exams will go on and universities will be able to continue admitting new students.
Speakers at the meeting said that if any university wished to take in-person exams or admission tests, it could do so but only after ensuring a maintenance of health safety guidelines.
The UGC is expected to make a detailed announcement in this regard within a day or two.
The decision to ensure 100% vaccination of all those involved with the universities – students being prioritized the most – means that resumption of in-person activities will take at least two months from the day the inoculation process gets under way.
According to a DGHS official, students will be able to take their second vaccine dose eight weeks after the first one.
Sources present at the meeting said that Education Minister Dipu Moni had told them that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina had asked to vaccinate the students first in order to reopen the country’s universities in the shortest possible time.
"The students of the universities will get the vaccine on a priority basis. Some residential students of our public universities have already received their first jab. They will get their second dose soon," a highly placed source at the UGC quoted the education minister as saying.
The decisions taken during Monday’s meeting were accepted and approved by the public university VCs, UGC members, and Health Ministry and DGHS officials without any reservations.
Speaking to Dhaka Tribune, UGC Secretary Prof Ferdous Zaman said: “The universities will be able to overcome the 15-month-long academic loss by taking online exams.
The decisions taken at Monday’s meeting include
* All universities, including private ones, must take initiatives to ensure vaccination to all their students
* In-person exams can be held by maintaining proper health safety guidelines.
* Residential students living in the university halls will have priority in the vaccination aspirants’ list, followed by non-residential students.