Bangladesh not ready to reopen schools in September as pandemic rages

The COVID-19 situation in Bangladesh is not conducive for reopening schools, colleges and universities in September, according to education officials.

Published : 23 August 2020, 01:22 PM
Updated : 23 August 2020, 01:22 PM

But the government is hopeful of restarting schools in December if the coronavirus outbreak abates by then, said Akram-Al-Hossain, the secretary to the primary and mass education ministry.

“The education minister said on Saturday that the situation isn't right to reopen educational instituions yet. You can also understand that,” he said on Sunday.

“Even now, 20-22 percent samples are returning positive results daily. The parents will all come if the schools reopen. Why would we put them in danger? So we believe that the situation isn't right yet.”

Although some countries had opted to reopen schools after a first wave of cases, they were forced to shut them down once again after the coronavirus situation deteriorated.

“We think it's better not to put the children at risk. So the two ministries will hold discussions with the government to come up with a decision on when schools can be reopened. The conditions are not right to reopen them in September.”

The pandemic has halted the Higher Secondary School Certificate and equivalent examinations, which were slated for Apr 1, while the decision on the Junior School Certificate examinations also remains pending.

The mass education ministry sent a proposal to the prime minister on Aug 19, asking that the Primary Education Certificate examinations be held at schools separately rather than centrally. But a decision is yet to be given on the matter, Secretary Akram said.

Most educational institutions have been taking classes online after they were closed on Mar 17 following the detection of the first coronavirus cases in the country.

The government has extended the closure several times to Aug 31 but it has been repeatedly saying that the schools and colleges will reopen only after the COVID-19 situation improves.

The total number of infected surged past 290,000 with a fatality count of almost 4,000 in the country as of Sunday,

On whether the academic year would be extended due to the pandemic, Secretary Akram said, “No. We didn't say that we will drag this on until January-February. In the meeting with the principal secretary, we had decided that it will end this year.”

“We hope to be able to reopen the schools before December.”