Schools reopen in Ghaziabad after a year for classes 1 to 5
Ghaziabad: Government and private schools in the district reopened for students of classes 1 to 5 on Monday after remaining shut for nearly a year in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. The government primary schools witnessed about 70% attendance, but the students’ presence at private schools was thin, officers of the basic education department said.
The officials said that the attendance in private schools fared badly as most of the schools have finished their academic session. They said that the attendance in about 126 private schools across the district reached about a maximum of 20%.
In February, the UP government had issued standard operating procedure (SOP) for schools for resumption of classes 6 to 8 from February 10 and for classes 1 to 5 from March 1 with mandatory “parents’ consent” clause for sending children to schools.
“Even for classes 6 to 8, the attendance in private schools was about 20%. It could also be due to the reason that parents are worried about emergence of Covid cases in several states,” said BB Chaudhary, basic education officer, Ghaziabad.
“On the other hand, the overall attendance in government schools for classes 1 to 5 was very encouraging and estimated at about 70%. Several government schools reported a 100% attendance. We also have high attendance of about 60-70% in government schools for classes 6 to 8,” Chaudhary said.
Some private schools said that studies for various classes have finished and it is only in the next session that the students will come for offline classes.
“At our school, the syllabus is over. So, the current time is only for assessments. So, we started examination offline for classes 6 to 12. And we have an attendance of about 95-98%. We are following all the guidelines. From classes nursery to 6, we are going to start the online assessment now,” said a spokesperson of the Delhi Public School, Indirapuram.
The Gautam Budh Nagar district basic education officer, Sanjay Upadhyaya, meanwhile said that on the first day of re-opening for class 1 to 5, schools recorded 45% attendance. “It is an encouraging turnout from the viewpoint of inaugural day for 512 schools for students of these classes. We are sure that the turnout will increase slowly in the coming days. We have made alternate arrangements for students. While on Mondays and Fridays, in-person lessons will be held for students of class 1 and 5, students of classes 2 and 4 have been asked to come on Tuesdays and Saturdays. For students of class 3, in-person classes will be held on Wednesdays and Thursdays,” he said.
Subhash Jain, president of Ghaziabad chapter of the Independent Schools Federation of India, an association of about 100 private schools, said that attendance was dismal on Monday for classes 1 to 5. “The attendance was hardly 5%, while it was about 20% for classes 6 to 8. It is so because online classes are going on. In many schools, online examinations have started. So, offline attendance is very low. The new session for schools will start in April and we are preparing for offline classes. We expect that the government removes the ‘parents’ consent’ clause,” he said.
Avrati Agarwal, head of government primary school at Nabipur in Muradnagar, said that unlike the private schools, attendance in her school was 100% on Monday.
“We have 32 children enrolled for classes 1 to 5. Of these, 12 children were to attend their classes on Monday. So, all 12 children arrived. Of 32, we have parents’ consent received for 28 students so far. We provided children with masks and sanitizers, and balloons. For one week which we call as ‘shoonya week,’ we have been asked to take up activities for children so that they again become attuned to regular schedule,” Agarwal added.
The members of parents’ association said that they conducted a survey of about 250 parents and about 97% of them were not willing to send children to schools. “The attendance is short as majority of parents are not willing to send children to school due to the emergence of Covid cases in many states and low vaccination coverage. Small children find it very difficult to adhere to Covid protocols. In our district, the vaccination coverage is still not there for teachers and staff of schools. So, it is better that offline classes starts from next session,” said Vivek Tyagi, spokesperson of Ghaziabad Parents’ Association.