Medical &Health

Fewer boys return to schools than girls after long Covid hiatus: Study

The rate of attendance among girls is higher than that of boys as schools reopen after a long hiatus from the Covid pandemic, according to a recent study.

It finds that absenteeism was 16 percent to 37 percent for boys and 14 percent to 35 percent for girls in the primary schools, and 34 percent to 45 percent for boys and 28 percent to 41 percent for girls in the secondary schools.

The research conducted under the “Safe Back to School Campaign” by 21 national and international organisations was unveiled at a programme in Dhaka Wednesday.

It was carried out to capture school attendance, maintenance of health safety measures and mental well-being of the students after the long closures of the schools.

The report identified school-goers’ involvement in economic activities, child marriage, migration of families to other places, shifting to other educational institutes – especially Qawmi madrasah, and loss of interest in the study as the primary reasons for absenteeism.

The students felt irritated, lonely, isolated and under mental pressure during the lockdown.

The causes explained by the parents, teachers and education officers include financial crisis, uncertain future, risk of child marriage, risk of discontinuing education, increase in problems in the family, not being able to attend online classes, and difficulties in understanding lessons.

After the reopening of the school, these problems have reduced, but some new issues have arisen, such as learning difficulties, difficulties in understanding lessons and challenges in mingling with others.

The report also found that 74 percent of students wear masks in school and 72 percent overall maintain social distance in the classroom.

Speaking at the programme, Education Minister Dipu Moni said, “We need to have a long-term plan to make up for the losses in the primary and secondary schools. This study coincides with the results of the government studies.”

“We have to work at the grassroots level to bring back the victims of child marriage. We have started training 200,000 teachers to work on mental health. Each educational institution will have at least two trained counselling teachers and a professional counsellor in each district.”

The Safe Back to School Campaign was launched on February 10, 2021 to bring children back to the classroom safely.

Since then, the campaign has been doing advocacy at the local and national levels while also raising public awareness.

Source: United News of Bangladesh