Updated: October 18, 2020 12:17:38 pm
Educational institutions in Assam, which have been closed since the lockdown in March, will reopen from November 2 with strict compliance of COVID protocols, Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday. Educational institutions will reopen for students from class six to the postgraduate level with certain restrictions in place, he said. Schools will, however, remain closed for students up to class five, he said.
Private schools and coaching centres can reopen from November 2 and must follow the COVID regulations. Each of them will have to remain in contact with the health department and periodic testing will be conducted in these institutes, Sarma said.
The government has no objection if the private schools want to continue with online classes, the minister said.
Joining school will, however, be a voluntary exercise on the part of the students. Their guardians will take the decision on sending them to school or not, and the necessary attendance required will not be applicable this year, he said.
The ‘Unlock 5’ guidelines of the ministry of home affairs have allowed the schools to reopen across the country after October 15 in a graded manner. The decision will, however, be taken by the state governments and the administration of the Union territories.
Sarma said the Assam government will not issue any directive regarding the restarting of classes at the postgraduate level. The university executive council concerned will decide on it and the rules to be followed.
The education minister said all government polytechnics and engineering institutions will have “normal face-to-face classes from November 2 but hostels will not reopen”.
Those who are unable to attend classes due to lack of hostel facilities can continue with online classes and as such there will be a blend of classroom and online teaching, he said.
Undergraduate classes will also begin from November 2 with each section having not more than 25 students. If the classes are held in halls, the number of students can be proportionately increased.
For the first semester students, classes will be held twice a week on Monday and Thursday, for the third on Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday, for the fifth on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Classes will be held in two batches in the morning and afternoon.
Results are yet to be announced for second and final semesters. As hostels will remain closed, undergraduate students will be allowed to enrol temporarily for a month in a college in their respective home towns and attend classes. The decision regarding reopening of hostels will be taken on December 1, he said.
At the school level, classes will be held in two batches – from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm and the next from 1:30 pm to 4:30 pm with not more than 25 students in each section.
Examinations will be held only for class eight which will be conducted by schools, while board examinations will be held for those in classes 10 and 12. Students of other classes will be promoted to the next higher class without any examination, Sarma said.
The syllabus will be reduced by the State Council of Education, Research and Training and this will be notified within 15 days, the minister said.
Students of lower primary schools in rural areas can go to institutions to get their midday meals and the teachers can engage with them in informal academic discussions, but no classes will be held, he said.
The children are currently being provided with dry food and the school authorities can slowly move to cooked meals depending on the situation, the minister said. The decision to reopen residential schools will be taken in December, he added.
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