Decision on educational institutions after meeting with NTAC: Dipu Moni

Education Minister Dipu Moni on Saturday said the decision on how to deal with educational institutions amid the Covid-19 surge will be taken after the ministry’s meeting with the National Technical Advisory Committee (NTAC) on Covid-19 on Sunday.

The government formed the 17-member national technical advisory committee with independent experts and government representatives in April, 2020 to recommend measures to tackle the pandemic in the country.

“The government, however, doesn’t want to shut the educational institutions now,” she said while talking to reporters after attending the silver jubilee programme of Dhaka Imperial College.

Dipu Moni said, “We were apprehending Covid surge during March-April but the cases started rising from early January. So, some sort of adjustment needs to be made in our previous plan.”

The minister said the government is emphasising the importance of Covid-19 vaccination campaign so that students could attend classes after receiving jabs.

But there is a concern about the primary-level under-12 students who could not be brought under the campaign yet, said Dipu Moni.

She said students could not attend in-person classes in the long closure of educational institutions due to Covid-19 situation which had hampered the learning process.

To compensate for the learning losses, remedial classes have been arranged, she said, adding, “But the present reluctance of all in maintaining health guidelines might cause more loss in the education sector.”

Dipu Moni urged all to maintain health guidelines at social, political and all other programmes considering the future of the students.

Earlier, Health Minister Zajid Maleque said the government has no plan right now to shut educational institutions even though Covid-19 cases keep rising across the world.

“The Covid infection rate is on the rise in many countries but it’s still under control in Bangladesh. The educational institutions are here and the government has no plan to close those now,” he said.

The Health Minister came up with the remarks while talking to reporters at a programme on distributing blankets among the destitute in Manikganj on Saturday.

On January 4, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) issued a 15-point guideline to prevent the highly-transmittable African variant of the virus.

The government is not considering any lockdown in the country right now and it will think about it if the infection rate goes up further, said the health minister. “We don’t want any lockdown. But we’ve to maintain health protocols.

The government will take tough measures to force people to maintain health protocols,” said the minister while talking to local journalists after attending a booster dose launching event at Manikganj Nursing College on January 1.

After a long closure due to the pandemic, the students of schools and colleges in Bangladesh returned to their classrooms on September 12 last year.

The government shut the educational institutions on March 17, 2020, after the country reported its first Covid-19 cases on March 8 and later the closure was extended several times.

Source: United News of Bangladesh