Maharashtra government’s plan of reopening rural schools stalled due to Centre’s guidelinesUpdated: Aug 08, 2020 01:06 IST
Two months into the new academic year, the state education department has been getting numerous requests to allow the physical reopening of schools in remote parts of Maharashtra. Schools, activists and social organisations, in several representations to the department, have urged that schools reopen so students without access to technology do not drop out or miss out on learning.
An official from the education department said several such requests have been pending due to the Central government’s guidelines. As per guidelines issued by the Ministry of Home Affairs in July, schools, colleges and coaching classes will remain shut across the country until August 31. Since June 15, schools across the state have been only operating online.
“We are receiving many requests from remote places where physical learning is the only option due to poor access to technology. However, in the absence of a Central government nod, all those plans are shelved, at least till the end of August,” said a senior official from the education department.
The state government had issued a set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) in June, based on which classes 9, 10 and 12 were expected to start in July, followed by classes 6-8 from August, and classes 1-5 from September. This, however, was subject to permissions from the local administration after no Covid-19 positive cases are reported in the area for a month. In accordance with the guidelines, the education department started 190 schools in Chandrapur and Gadchiroli. However, they were closed again after the Centre’s guidelines came in.
“We had ensured strict compliance with safety protocols and had made sure students come in small numbers and wear masks at all times. It was helping a lot because, finally, face-to-face learning could kick-off. The online-only mode is not feasible in the long run,” said the teacher of a school in Chandrapur.