( are we ready to see school reopening India in present covid situation? What the experts say about the 3rd wave?)
The reopening of educational institutions has now become the most haunting question. For the last two years, all educational institutions have been continuing to remain closed due to Covid Pandemic in India. Govt. has decided not to consent for the reopening of schools, colleges, and universities. The State Governments all over the country are also in no position for taking the decision to resume the teaching-learning process. But how long should the train of education be halting at a single station? The state of Maharashtra reopened school for classes v to xii on 4th October 2021. At the same time, The West Bengal Government sanctioned Rs.109,42,37,133/- for repairing 6468 secondary and higher secondary schools and modifying their infrastructure. Let’s have a look at the overall situation.
school reopening India| position of learners and teachers’ role
On their part, the students, guardians, teachers can not but depend on the Government Order. They have been waiting for the announcement regarding the reopening of institutions. In all these circumstances what the position is of the learners who are under school education. Towards the end of 2019 and at the beginning of 2020 the pandemic had started. Before, the children used to come to school to gather knowledge, to meet their mates and to share their goods and evils with their teachers too. After all, school is their playground as well as the field of knowledge. The teachers, on their part, to say, have forgot the small faces of their school children. Unfortunately, they have been compelled to keep aside their skills on the shelf. To think of the students’ future they Shiver. It can not be denied that with the advent of the Corona Virus they, along with others, also became panicky. But presently their conscience has begun to bother them. They don’t know when to return to a rhythmic classroom situation.
2) Time approached to think of their future:
Alarming bell has rung to brood over the children’s future. When should they get back their golden days– the days that would give them opportunities to share sorrows and happiness. Undoubtedly they have forgot how to interact with their teachers. They can not vividly remember when they joined their class for the last time. The playgrounds before schools are now covered with green long grasses and shrubs. The familiar hurly burly of students during tiffin break, the chaos in the mid-day meal queue are not visible presently.
3) Online class vs physical class:
It must be admitted that the teachers have been trying to communicate with the students through online classes. But virtual classes have so many demerits. In the first place, many students do not have smartphones to join online classes, for they live below poverty level, especially in rural areas. Secondly, as they live in rural areas, poor connectivity stands as an instruction. Earnest hardship from both sides proves a failure to fulfil a virtual class. The mentality of notorious students should be criticized here. If a virtual class is about to be a success, the naughty students who have somehow a smartphone, want to leave the class, for they are not interested to carry on taking part in the class for long time. They will make busy themselves with internet games, not with the class. So the question arises ” Can online classes be the substitutions to the physical classes? A large percentage will opine obviously not .
4) Teachers’ association vs Govt:
Many political and apolitical teachers’ organizations appealed to Government for reopening institutions, for the teachers know the losses of the students. But perhaps considering circumstances the Government did not hid to their appeal. It does not mean that the Government and education department are not thinking over it. They did not want a student be infected with Covid. At the end of September in Bengaluru 60 out of 500 students were found to be Covid infected after reopening of school. Hopefully only 2 out of 60 were symptomatic and rest were asymptomatic. Immediately after the report they announced the closure of school till 20th October.
5) An important report on school education (Emergency Report)
Here we should look into the result of a survey made by nearly 100 volunteers (mainly college students) across the country. The school survey took place in August, 2021 on 1362 children enrolled in classes 1 to 8 from 1362 underprivileged households. The survey includes 15 States: Assam, Bihar, Chandigarh, Delhi, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Tamil Nadu, Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. The survey reveals that in rural areas 8% of the children (who were chosen for survey) are taking online classes regularly and 37% children are not studying at all. In urban areas regular online class attending students are 24% , not studying 19%. Further details reveals that only 28% of the children in rural areas are studying regularly (at home or by attending online classes), 35% are studying from time to time and 37% are not studying at all. In urban areas the proportion is 47%, 34% and 19% respectively.
6) Assembly Election during lockdown is a question: school reopening India
The authority reduced syllabus for taking exams. Ultimately the examination was postponed. Some intellectuals cast their views against it. They opine if it is possible to conduct election of Legislative Assembly in some states like West Bengal, Tamil Nadu during lockdown, it should not be impossible to hold examination maintaining Covid protocols and restrictions. Though the Election Commission forbade the political parties not to hold meetings gathering their followers, they started campaigning in support of their candidates breaking all rules and regulations and terms and conditions. In some cases, the supporters were so desperate that there was no trace of musk on their faces and no smell of sanitizer around them. Instead of breaking the chain of Corona Virus, they added fuel to the flame by increasing its spreading-rate. Some pose the reasoning that if amidst pandemic the examination had been held and a single student been infected with the virus, total liabilities would have gone to the Govt. Obviously there should not be any argument.
7) Experts’ view about the 3rd wave:
On 25th September, 2021 Dr N K Arora , chairman of the Covid-19 working group of NTAGI (National Technical Advisory Group on Immunization) said that the children need not to be vaccinated for reopening of schools. Dr Arora emphasized on vaccination of parents, teachers and school-staffs before the resumption of physical classes. Dr. T Jacob stood also on the same opinion. The commoners trust and depend on the experts, specialists and researchers. That’s why perhaps we should not delay any more to reopen school. The experts said that third wave might hit again the nation. If it happens to come it will not be so sever as the second wave. Dr Gagandeep, the professor of Christian Medical College, Vellore said that in the coming months i.e October-November no large third wave would come.
The total point of view and the reported datas inscribed above is on consideration of Government- schools’ situation and Govt-school going children most of whom come to their dear school premises from a poor or mediocre family or slum areas. One should not mingle it with the private school or private school going children.