October 6, 2021 11:20:03 pm
Attendance at Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools has dropped after an encouraging turnout on Day 1 of reopening on Monday, according to numbers provided by the civic corporation.
While on the first day of reopening on October 4, roughly 30,250 students – less than half of the total strength — across 755 BMC-run schools attended classes, the number dropped to 23,162 the next day.
On Wednesday, owing to Pitru Paksha, only Urdu- and English-medium schools were operational in the city and just 7,332 students attended in-person classes.
BMC education officials said it would be too early to comment on the reason behind the drop in the attendance.
“Overall, nearly 60 per cent of parents had given consent to send their kids to schools for in-person classes. Of those, many might still be adjusting (to the idea of) coming to schools. However, it has been just three days to come to any conclusion,” said a deputy education officer.
Out of the 781 municipal schools, 26 have not resumed classes, as vaccination and quarantine centres have not been shifted out of their premises yet.
According to the data provided by the BMC, as many as 1.78 lakh students showed up for classes on Day 1 of re-opening in the 1,386 private schools in the city. Data from private schools was not available for the second and the third day.
Principals at both civic and private schools said this month has several holidays on account of the festive season, adding the attendance might improve after October.
Due to the pandemic, schools have begun a hybrid model, with teachers continuing with online classes along with in-person classes. Most schools in the city have planned to conduct regular in-person classes for Class 9 and 10 students, and twice a week for the remaining classes.
On September 29, the BMC permitted city schools to reopen for the first time since they were closed in mid-March to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic.
As per the BMC, there are 67,361 students in Classes VIII-X in 781 civic-run schools. The BMC said that parents of around 60 per cent of these students had given a written consent to sending their children to school.
Meanwhile, as schools and colleges reopened in the Mumbai Metropolitan Region (MMR), the Central Railway on Tuesday wrote to the Maharashtra government seeking guidelines for issuing tickets and seasonal passes to students who want to travel in local trains. BMC officials confirmed that many teachers across schools in the city have approached the civic body to allow them to travel by local trains. The civic body’s education department has raised requests with the municipal commissioner to issue passes to students travelling by local train. In BEST buses, students can continue to travel for free as per the earlier arrangement.
Conference on school reopening
The Parliamentarians’ Group for Children (PGC) with support from United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and Swaniti Initiative recently organised an online roundtable conference to discuss the reopening of schools and various measures to be undertaken towards child-centric pandemic recovery. According to the Maharashtra Department of Education-UNICEF Rapid Assessment Survey – November 2020, 36 per cent of children have not had any learning material in the past 14 months since the schools’ closure.
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