The Department of School Education & Literacy of the ministry of HRD
on July 19 in a letter to all states and UTs had given just one day to get feedback from parents on school reopening. The letter mentioned choices of reopening as August/September and October.
Both the short widow to respond and a restricted choice for ‘referendum’ has angered lot of parents and other stakeholders. Most parents have taken the expected line of putting safety of their children first and advised against reopening until a credible treatment/vaccine is available.
“Asking the people of the country to express their views on the resumption of schools in just 24 hours is an evidence of the central government’s negligence on education,” said Yadagiri Shekhar Rao, Telangana Recognized School Managements Association (TRSMA) state president.
Rao said, “There are more than 33 crores of students in our country who still do not have a proper understanding of the Covid pandemic. It would have been meaningful to create awareness among the and given them adequate time to discuss and think about this issue through an opinion poll. It appears, What they are doing is just a manipulation of thrusting a decision.“ All India Association of Parents has already rejected the idea with its president Adovate Ashok Agarwal saying, “AIPA strongly oppose the present move of the centre.”
While parents want to see reopening as soon as possible, still a lot of them have confusion on the protocols and how these guidelines will be implemented in schools. “There is no guarantee that even by 31st Dec, vaccines will be available and that would mean a long time for children to be out of school. So, let the government spell the protocols like class size and other things. Best option is to see how real classroom and online classes can be blended to keep them complementing each other,” said a parent of Delhi.
At the same time, October is emerging as a favorite choice as parents feel by then a clearer protocol/guidelines can be arrived at and some progress in medicine would been made also by then. “It would be better if government publicizes draft guidelines and protocols and then invites suggestions. It will generate debate and awareness, which will be best for everybody,” suggests another parent.
So, the final story will have to wait till MHRD speaks out its mind.