The prolonged lockdown and transition to online schooling has had an undesired side effect -- its negative impact on students' mental health.
According to experts, the situation is quite dire and needs immediate attention from educational authorities. Fortunately for the students of Birshreshtha Munshi Abdur Rouf Public College, its authorities have come up with some measures to tackle this.
"Many of our students are going through various kinds of mental problems, all stemming from the pandemic. This is quite concerning for us, which is why we are arranging counselling and motivational sessions to help them cope with their issues," Lt Col Hafez Md Zonayed Ahmed, principal of the college, told The Daily Star.
In addition, the school is also conducting virtual sessions for the guardians, to aid them in understanding the students' predicaments, he added.
Lt Col Zonayed said he has spoken to almost all his students and their parents and found out some insights. "Many parents have informed that sometimes it is difficult to keep up with their children's moods. On the other side, students have informed me of their boredom, fatigue, and loneliness borne out of not seeing their friends for so long," he said.
"So far nine sessions have been held for both students and parents where noted psychiatrist Dr Helal Ahmed, Dr Almasur Rahman, and Brit Gen (retd) Md Baker spoke to them," Lt Col Zonayed said.
Two of these sessions were conducted separately for female students only, where noted psychiatrist Professor Mehjabin Hoque shared her views on how to deal with specifically feminine problems.
Farin Islam, a second-grader at the school, told this correspondent that staying home for months without seeing his friends has made him miserable. He said the counselling sessions is helping him become a bit more positive.
Third-grader Ayon Das said, "I have become tired of watching TV and playing games on the smartphone all the time."
"I used to bother my mother a lot, always asking her 'What should I do?' I always used to wonder about when the school will reopen, and this made restless," he added. "But the sessions are helping me realize the situation and calm down a bit."