January 30, 2021 3:59:23 am
After schools in Delhi opened for class X and XII students last week, the government announced that students in classes IX and XI, as well as colleges, polytechnics and diploma institutions, may attend physical classes from February 5.
The announcement was made by Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia, who cited requests from parents and students, and positive experience of opening schools for classes X and XII. Schools had opened for students of classes X and XII from January 18. “It has been a very good experience. Schools are calling students with permission from their parents and those who are unwilling are still attending online classes. Students are being called in a staggered manner and we have found that 80% of the children being called at a time are coming to school,” he said of the current reopening experience.
“After reopening for (classes) X and XII, we have also been getting lots of requests from parents of students in classes IX and XI since they also have practical work to do and exams to write, especially since they also have to write board exams next year. We are also getting similar demands from colleges…” he said, adding that Covid protocols need to followed like in the earlier phase.
Earlier, Delhi University had also announced that it will begin phased reopening for final semester students in the month of February.
Gradual rise in turnout
Meanwhile, 11 days after schools reopened for students of classes X and XII, the overall turnout across government schools has continued to hover around 40% even as individual schools reported that they have been seeing a gradual increase in turnout day by day.
According to data from the education department, on Wednesday the turnout of students in these classes across 928 Delhi government schools was 37.12%. On the second day of schools reopening, a turnout of around 40% was reported. Education officials maintain that these numbers show that many schools are also following a staggered system of calling students to school.
Despite the plateau in the overall figures, individual schools have reported a considerable increase in their daily turnout.
Vice-Principal of a Northeast Delhi school said, “On the first day, we started with a 16% turnout. This has been increasing day by day, and today we had around 40%. Every day, we have been adding a new classroom to accommodate this increase… I’m expecting the turnout to rise to 60-65% by the first week of February.”
She said a few students from migrant families are still not back in Delhi: “It’s a small number. Around 2-3 in classes of 55 but we are in touch with them, and they said they will try to return to the city in February.”
In some other schools, the numbers of those still not back to Delhi are higher. “There are around 10-15% of students in these grades who are still not in Delhi as we have a very high number of students from migrant families in Chilla Gaon and Yamuna Khadar. We are in touch with all of them, and they have said they will return soon,” said Ajay Kumar, head of a school in Chilla Gaon.
He said last Friday his school had a turnout of 70-75% in class X and around 50-55% in class XII. This is up from around 27% in class XII on day 1 and 39% on day 2. His school too had been calling students in a staggered manner — half on every alternate day — but they have decided to call in all students on all days starting from January 27.
Neeraj Kumari, head of a school in Mayur Vihar, said while her school has also seen an increase in turnout, there are persistent fears among several parents. “Some parents are adamant that we should give them a written assurance that their children will not get infected in school. While we are doing everything to ensure that it doesn’t happen, we have little control over their movement between home and school…,” she said.
Last Friday, her school had a turnout of 70% for class 12 and 58.6% for class 10 — up from 40% and 33% respectively on day 1.
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