Bangladesh government has decided to reopen educational institutions, particularly primary, secondary and higher secondary ones, in Bangladesh on June 13 if the Covid-19 situation does not deteriorate.
“We’ve decided to reopen all the educational institutions — primary, secondary and higher secondary ones — on June 13. We expect the situation to be much more favourable by the time,” said Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni at a virtual press conference on Wednesday.
About reopening universities, the Education Minister said the decision will be taken in consultation with the University Grants Commission (UGC) and the university authorities.
Initially, the institutions will remain open for six days a week for the class-V students as well as SSC and HSC candidates of 2021 and 2022, while for one day for the students of other classes. The number of classroom lectures will increase gradually for the students of other classes, she said.
Dipu Moni urged all to follow the health guidelines and thus help the government create a favourable environment for reopening the educational institutions.
“On one hand, we ask for reopening educational institutions and increase the (Covid-19) infection rate on the other by not following the health guidelines. These two things can’t go together,” she said.
The minister said the online and television-based teaching and assignment-based academic activity are going on amid the ongoing closure of educational institutions.
She said the Covid-19 infection rate has risen slightly due to the recent mass exodus during the Eid holidays.
“The infection rate has risen suddenly in some districts. Keeping such issues in mind, we’re extending the closure of our educational institutions until June 12. We hope the situation will improve by the time, and then we can reopen the institutions,” she said.
The minister, however, said the government will reopen the educational institutions on the basis of adequate data and favourable opinions.
She said the government takes its decision following discussions with the National Technical Advisory Committee on Covid-19. “We’ll take the decision (on reopening the educational institutions) based on discussions with them this time, too,” she added.
According to expert views, if the Covid-19 infection rate remains within 5 percent, it will create a favourable situation to reopen educational institutions, Dipu Moni added.
State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Md Zakir Hossain and Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hassan Chowdhoury also spoke at the press conference.
The government shut the educational institutions on March 17, 2020 after the country reported its first Covid-19 cases on March 8. Then the closure was extended several times, most recently until May 29, 2021.
Covid situation in Bangladesh
Bangladesh witnessed a sharp rise in Covid-19 cases and fatalities as it recorded 40 more deaths and 1,675 cases in 24 hours until Tuesday morning.
The Covid positivity rate rose to 10.08 percent again during the period after remaining below 10 percent since May 15. The country had been seeing below 40 deaths since May 13.
Health authorities registered 1,675 new cases after testing 16,624 samples during the 24-hour period.
Besides, the mortality rate remained static at 1.57 percent, said a handout of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS).