Sunday, June 16, 2024


Dhaka Tribune

Closing schools not a viable option

Update : 04 Dec 2021, 12:17 AM

It was only in September of this year that education institutions in Bangladesh were resumed after a long 18-month closure. To that end, the fact that the authorities are considering the closing of schools as part of the plan to mitigate a potential spike from Omicron, the new Covid-19 variant, is not only worrying, but would be far from the rational choice. 

Despite the best intentions behind the government’s willingness to close schools again, and this newspaper has editorialized positively on the government's pro-active approach in containing the spread of this variant when it does emerge in Bangladesh, it must re-evaluate this strategy in light of the realities in a post-pandemic world.

There is no certainty that new variants will stop emerging. In fact, the opposite is true -- new strands will continue to grow, as the virus will always mutate in different environments and with time. Given that the world has come quite a long way since the beginning of the pandemic, and we have learned a lot about how to manage the infection -- both in terms of prevention and treatment -- closing regular day-to-day operation of organizations should not be the primary course of action for preventing spread.

Closing schools has a tremendous impact on the general public, especially the economically-disadvantaged population across the country. Students in rural areas do not have the necessary equipment to take benefits of online classes, nor do the public schools have the appropriate digital ecosystem to replace the physical classroom.

There has been plenty of attention given to the education loss Bangladesh's students will have to deal with as a result of the long school closures, and the impact this will have on Bangladesh's future as a country. We must explore other avenues first to contain the virus.

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