The government is planning to reopen schools across the country after August 15, sources in the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry said, adding that the reopening will be subject to the situation of the coronavirus crisis at the time. Schools and colleges across the country have been closed since March 16, shortly before the centre announced the nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Human Resource Development Ministry will decide on the reopening of schools based on guidelines from the Union Home Ministry and the Health Ministry, sources said.
Even as it decides the date of the reopening, the safety of students is paramout, sources in the HRD Ministry said.
Classes at several schools across the country are being conducted online, something the government has encouraged amid the lockdown.
In an interview with NDTV in May, HRD Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank had said the final decisions on reopening of schools would depend on the ground situation. "From July 1 to 15, there will be exams and the schools will open after the exams," the minster had said. Asked how the exams can be held in July, when the India's coronavirus cases are likely to peak, the minister said: "We cannot predict what will happen in July. We will abide by the home ministry and the health ministry decision. The safety of students will be paramount."
Talking about the roadmap for reopening of schools, School Education Secretary Anita Karwal earlier this month indicated that the pandemic has put the focus on the quality of digital education.
"We are now trying to realign the whole learning process, the pedagogy, the instructional process, the way children will be called to schools. What happens at the entry and exit points at the school, what are the changed roles of teachers...we are working on all this," she was quoted as saying by news agency PTI.
"Another area of importance is the quality of digital education which we had postponed before the pandemic happened. We realised that whatever we put in the digital education universe, it has to be of the highest quality, something which is engaging, interacting and able to communicate with the stakeholders," she reportedly said.
(With inputs from PTI)