Assam frames guidelines for reopening schools, colleges; seeks views from stakeholders
Assam is mulling resumption of informal education in both government and private schools from September 1, if possible.Updated: Aug 05, 2020, 14:36 IST
With a view to start informal classes till restriction on opening educational institutions because of COVID-19 pandemic continues, Assam government has framed a set of guidelines and sought views from stakeholders.
Schools, colleges and other educational institutions have remained closed in Assam as well as rest of India since March because of the pandemic. Assam is mulling resumption of informal education in both government and private schools from September 1, if possible.
N. Laskar, joint secretary in the Assam higher education department issued the guidelines on Tuesday which have been uploaded in the state Sarba Siksha Abhiyan website for public viewing and to submit opinions.
The guidelines state the classes won’t be compulsory and interested students would have to inform their institutions beforehand, wear masks to attend informal classes and maintain physical distance of 8 feet while attending classes.
Other conditions include mandatory COVID-19 tests for teachers, resource persons, education department staff etc. between August 23 and August 30 to be able to attend classes and santisation of venues to be used for informal classes before classes start and thereafter on interval of every 15 days.
However, online education being imparted to students at present by using digital devices will continue without any break.
As per the guidelines, students from classes I to IV don’t have to come to school but their parents/guardian can collect hard copies of their assignments while collecting rations meant for mid-day meals.
The completed assignments can be submitted during the next visit to school and teachers will evaluate them to use as results for unit tests/exams. Teachers for these classes will have to visit school.
For classes V to VIII, four venues like community halls, libraries, open fields, courtyard of houses etc. will have to be identified outside school premises where students in groups of 15 will be imparted classes for anywhere between 90 to 120 minutes in batches.
“These resource persons/teachers shall teach in the style which was earlier used in ‘gurukul’ (style of imparting knowledge by teachers in informal setup like underneath large trees). They will use improved techniques like storytelling, project preparation, assignments, tests etc.,” the guidelines read.
“As a parent, I want schools to reopen as studies have been impact by COVID. But it won’t be wise to conduct classes in open fields like ‘gurukul’ due to the weather conditions at present. Instead classes should be held in classrooms after sanitizing them properly,” said Juri Saikia, mother of the class VIII student in Tezpur.
Students from classes IX to XII will have to attend classes in schools where they will attend 4 classes of 45 minutes duration each in groups of 15 for six days of the week except Sunday. Students can attend classes nearest to their homes even if they are not enrolled there and retired teachers can opt to take classes.
“We are already conducting online classes for all our students. At present we would prefer continuing with the same format of imparting education instead of reopening schools till the COVID-19 situation eases,” said Geeta Dutta Baruah, principal, Shrimanta Shankar Academy-Guwahati.
Students of final semester of graduation in colleges as well as students of classes XI and XII studying in colleges will have to follow the guidelines for classes issued for students of classes IX to XII in schools. A separate set of detailed rules will be issued after receiving feedback from public.
Final semester students in medical and engineering colleges have also been asked to follow the same set of rules for classes as those framed for classes IX to XII. Other guidelines will be issued by directorates of medical and technical education at later dates.
“All the universities are also directed to start academic activities as per their own suitability and as per the guidelines received from University Grants Commission (UGC),” said the guidelines.
All stakeholders have been asked to submit their views on or before August 20 on the following email id: firstname.lastname@example.org
“We are yet to go through all the guidelines. The only issue that could pose a problem is that the one about conducting classes in open fields. Not many schools in urban area will have such fields. Schools should be allowed to teach students in classrooms while maintaining social distance,” said Ratul Goswami, general secretary, Assam State Primary Teachers Association.