Bangladesh to reopen schools, colleges on Mar 30

The government has decided to reopen the schools and colleges gradually on Mar 30 after a year of shutdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Education Minister Dipu Moni announced the decision after an inter-ministerial meeting on Saturday.

The students will not be required to go to schools daily after the restart as the COVID-19 pandemic continues, she said.

The minister had earlier said the students of classes 10 and 12 will attend classes in-person regularly, while the others will get classes one day per week.

On Saturday, she said primary school students from class one to five may also initially be allowed to attend classes regularly.

The others will get back to regular classes in phases, the minister said.

MA Khayer, a spokesman for the ministry, said educational institutions at primary, secondary and higher secondary levels will reopen on that day.

The minister said pre-primary-level educational activities will not resume now.

For SSC and HSC candidates, the authorities have shortened the syllabuses that can be completed within 60 and 80 working days, respectively, according to her. Both exams will be held.

The government cancelled the PEC tests for fifth graders, JSC tests for the eighth graders and annuals exams of other grades last year due to the pandemic.

HSC results were published by averaging the scores of JSC and SSC tests.

The government had earlier ordered the educational institutions to complete the preparation for in-person lessons attaching maximum priority to the health of the students, teachers and support staff so that they can reopen anytime amid the outbreak.

The minister had said that teachers, officials and employees would be vaccinated before the reopening. The government began registering teachers for the coronavirus vaccine regardless of their age on Feb 25 ahead of the reopening.

According to the Ministry of Education, there are 406,469 teachers and 162,861 employees in secondary and higher secondary institutions across the country.

To cover the gap created by the pandemic shutdown, the educational institutions will not remain closed throughout Ramadan this year, said Dipu Moni.

“The students must have become bored being housebound all the time. I don’t think it will be a problem for them to attend classes while fasting. They will get holidays during Eid,” she said.

The minister also said that the government was planning to give coronavirus vaccine to around 130,000 students who live in 220 residential halls of the public universities. 

It sent letters to the universities through the University Grants Commission last week seeking names, addresses and NID numbers of these students so that they can be allowed to register for the vaccine in their nearest hospitals or centres.

She hoped all the residential students will get their doses before the reopening of the halls on May 17.