Reopening Schools: Most parents think it’s still unsafe | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 24, 2021 / LAST MODIFIED: 03:20 AM, February 24, 2021

Reopening Schools: Most parents think it’s still unsafe

Finds survey of Citizen’s Platform for SDGs

Fifty-five percent of guardians interviewed do not feel safe to send their children to schools when they will be reopened, a survey of Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, said yesterday.

The schools have remained closed due to the outbreak of Covid-19 in the country.

The platform added that 51 percent of guardians consider that their children's schools are not capable enough of maintaining health guidelines.

It carried out the online survey between February 17 and 22, and 1,960 people were respondents of it.

Of them, 576 were guardians, 370 teachers and 1,014 a cross-section of people from across the board, said Avra Bhattacharjee, joint director of Centre for Policy Dialogue.

Avra made a presentation at a virtual discussion on "at last schools are reopening and how far we are prepared" organised by the Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh.

The online survey said 67 percent of guardians were not interested to provide any kind of extra fees to schools for maintaining the cost for ensuring health safety.

It added that 68 percent of teachers opined that their schools are capable enough of maintaining the health safety guideline. About 69 percent of teachers said the government should give money to schools for meeting the cost for ensuring health safety.

On March 17 last year, the government closed all educational institutions, aiming to contain the spread of coronavirus. The government in phases extended the closure till February 28.

Moderating the discussion, Debapriya Bhattacharya, convenor of Citizen's Platform for SDGs, Bangladesh, and distinguished fellow of CPD, said the government can give block allocations so that schools can take proper preparation of maintaining the health guideline.

Citizen's Platform's core group member and Executive Director of Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) Rasheda K Choudhury said incentive packages in the education sector are needed.

Director of Brac Education Programme Safiqul Islam said it would be tough to make up the academic loss of students due to the closure. A massive change is needed in the teaching and learning process.

Brac University Professor Emeritus Manzoor Ahmed proposed that schools should be reopened in phases. He said schools that are outside the metropolitan cities should be opened first.

Veteran teacher leader Quazi Faruque Ahmed said, "We will take lessons from other countries on how they are covering the academic losses during the pandemic."

Dhaka Education Board Chairman Prof Nehal Ahmed said the government is planning to bring students who will sit for the next SSC and HSC exams in the classroom first.

He said schools would be reopened in line with the directives of the national technical advisory committee on Covid-19.

Prof Syed Md Golam Faruk, director general of Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, said they would assist the schools that are failing to take preparation to maintain health protocols due to financial problems.

Several teachers, parents and students of different districts spoke at the virtual programme. Almost all of them said they want schools reopening with strict following of health guideline.

Shakhwat Hossain, head teacher of a government primary school in Narsingdi, said as Qawmi madrasa is open now, many students have got admitted there. 


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