Why leave schools behind, learning at stake: Principals
“We are unable to understand why schools are not a priority if other establishments can function,” said Sudha Acharya, chairperson of the National Progressive School Conference.
Administrators and parents on Thursday were a disappointed lot as the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) deferred a decision on reopening school to its next meeting, which is likely to take place on February 7. Stakeholders said the delay in opening schools has been causing immense harm to children who have stayed away from in-person for most of nearly two years now.
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During the DDMA meeting on Thursday, officials said a decision on reopening schools will be taken up for discussion in the next meeting, after experts suggested a phased reopening of institutions. In the first phase, schools will be reopened for students in classes 9-12, followed by classes 5-8, and classes 3-4 in the third, they said.
But school administrators said educational institutions were not accorded priority whereas curbs on bars, restaurants, and markets were being relaxed. They said prolonged suspension of in-person classes was exacerbating the learning gap among students.
Sudha Acharya, chairperson of the National Progressive School Conference (NPSC) said most had expected a positive outcome on Thursday as deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had earlier highlighted the learning loss on account of school closure, and said the government backed their reopening.
Acharya said the delay did not make sense as the government was relaxing other curbs. “The meeting is scheduled next week and we are not certain what decision might be taken or by when it would come into effect,” said Acharya.
“We also need to conduct practical exams for students of board classes (class 10 and 12). Now, we will have to wait before planning exams. This is an unnecessary delay. We are unable to understand why schools are not a priority if other establishments such as restaurants and malls can function with relaxations,” said Acharya.
Tania Joshi, principal of The Indian School, said the deferment of reopening has thrust schools into uncertainty again. “How is it possible that we are able to open schools in Maharashtra for children of all grades but the same can’t be done in Delhi?” said Joshi.
Parents also expressed their disappointment with the continued closure. They said the lack of clarity on reopening was a disappointment after their demand was supported by Sisodia.
More than 1,600 parents on Wednesday signed an online petition requesting government authorities and other key stakeholders to reopen schools for in-person classes on priority. A delegation of parents met Sisodia who said school reopening was crucial to bridge the learning gap.
“We are disappointed that schools continue to remain closed, despite Manish Sisodia supporting the reopening of schools. We are unable to understand the rationale behind the continued closure when experts nationally and internationally have recommended the opening of schools,” said Tanya Aggarwal, lawyer, and one of the petitioner parents.