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Month after reopening, Jharkhand schools see increase in attendance for physical classes

On the first day of recording the data, 51, 733 students in class 10 physically came to the classroom and the strength increased to 92,130 students on January 12. In the same period, the strength of class 12th students increased from 13,843 to  23,787 students.

Written by Abhishek Angad | Ranchi |
Updated: January 23, 2021 1:45:15 pm
Among the five sub-divisions in Jharkhand, South-Chotanagpur division has the highest number of students turning up for the physical classrooms. (Express Photo/ Representational)

Nearly a month after the Jharkhand government gave permission — for the first time since the pandemic — to start physical classes of standard 10 and 12 in the state, there has been a marked improvement in the attendance of the students in the government and government-aided schools. The state government started collecting the data — two days after the classes started on December 21 — and found that on January 12 an average of 36 per cent of total enrolled students in class 10 and 12 were present, compared to 21 per cent on December 23.

According to the data available with The Indian Express, there are 2337 government and government-aided schools in Jharkhand, in which more than 2.28 lakh students are enrolled in class 10, while 64, 088 are enrolled in class 12th. On the first day of recording the data, 51, 733 students in class 10 physically came to the classroom and the strength increased to 92,130 students on January 12. In the same period, the strength of class 12th students increased from 13,843 to  23,787 students.

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Director Secondary Education Jata Shankar Choudhary said monitoring has been key to the collection of data. “It is a necessity for the students to come to the schools because a lot of students were facing problems as many faced problems in the preparation of examinations. However, it is also clear from the data that the Standard Operating Procedures for opening up of schools are being followed. There were parents who later gathered confidence and started sending their children to schools.”

A teacher wishing anonymity said that many students have slowly come to know because many don’t yet have a smartphone where the information was disseminated in the first place.

He added that for monitoring on a daily basis, the teachers are asked to submit a report in Google sheets on their and pupil’s attendance. He, however, also emphasised that the data reflects that the actual number may vary as some are not recording their attendance.

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Among the five sub-divisions in Jharkhand, South-Chotanagpur division has the highest number of students turning up for the physical classrooms. The districts include Gumla, Khunti, Ranchi, Lohardaga, Ranchi, and Simdega which has a total of 377 schools with an average of 50 per cent of students’ presence in the classrooms.

The data says that 77 per cent of the total 24, 035 teachers marked their presence in these schools as on January 12.

The SOP was issued by the School Education and Literacy Department, Jharkhand. The parents have to give a written declaration that they are sending their children to schools for the preparation of board exams. The SOP said that schools will be allowed outside the containment zones and that the students will be asked to come on an odd-even basis based on rotation policy, to mitigate any impact of COVID-19 virus. The SOPs also asked for coordination with the nearest police station, disaster management team in the districts.

A health department official said that they have not come across COVID-19 cases from any school. Jharkhand has more 1.17 lakh COVID-19 positive cases with 1225 deaths as on January 18.

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