School Reopening: Retaining students may be harder than bringing them back
Bringing students back to school once those reopen after the Covid-19 pandemic will be difficult, but keeping them in classes might be even tougher, speakers said at an online discussion programme yesterday.
They also called on the government to allocate adequate budget for the education sector hit hard by the pandemic.
The programme was held virtually by the Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) on the "Abidjan Principles" on the human rights obligations of states to provide public education and regulate private involvement in education.
The Abidjan Principles was adopted in 2019.
During his speech, BRAC's education programme director Safiqul Islam said while everyone is eagerly waiting for schools to reopen, an additional challenge lays elsewhere.
"Everyone will definitely want to send their children back to school. But the question is how many of the students will really back come back to school, and how long will they stay?"
"While 'back to school campaigns' will be helpful to bring students in, keeping them in class will prove to be much more challenging," he said.
CAMPE Executive Director Rasheda K Choudhury said regardless of circumstances, education must not to be deprioritised.
"If education is deprioritised, it will be tough to ensure right to education for all," she said.
She also said that it is hight time to start discussion about a revamped education budget.
"Many teachers are going through difficult times, and their struggles cannot be overlooked. To make up for the academic time lost due to the pandemic, their roles in the class room will be invaluable," she added.
Bangladesh Kindergarten Association General Secretary Mizanur Rahman Sarkar said that only around 10 percent students are being educated online.
"Since most students are outside of the online education system, they will surely fall behind compared to the rest," he said.
Among others, Rene Raya, lead policy analyst of Asia South Pacific Association for Basic ad Adult Education (ASPBAE) Quazi Faruque Ahmed, Education Policy Formulation Committee member, and Ehsanur Rahman, executive director of Dhaka Ahsania Mission, spoke at the programme.
BRAC University Professor Emeritus Manzoor Ahmed presided over the session.