Rajasthan to reopen schools, colleges and coaching centres, parents apprehensive
Express News Service
JAIPUR: Schools, colleges, universities and coaching centres across Rajasthan will reopen from January 18. While schools will run classes only for IX to XII standard students, in colleges and universities students of final-year degree courses alone will be allowed to attend classes on the campus.
With the COVID-19 recovery rate touching 96.31% in the state and some districts reporting zero cases, Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot announced the decision after a review meeting on the pandemic and claimed that “educational institutions could start functioning in the improved situation which is now far better than the scenario of about a month ago.”
Certain mandatory restrictions will be in place. Classrooms in schools and colleges will permit the presence of 50% of students on each day on an alternating basis. However, in view of the upcoming plan for COVID-19 vaccinations, medical colleges, dental colleges, nursing colleges and paramedical colleges in the state will reopen from January 11, earlier than other institutions.
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The decision to reopen educational institutions after a gap of over nine months has evoked mixed reactions. Most parents say they are ready to settle for online education for their children this academic session as they don’t want to expose their families to the risk of Covid infection. But school authorities and teachers believe that some students should return although in small numbers.
CK Punnose a senior teacher associated with St. Xavier School in Jaipur was among those who appreciated the decision. He said, “Three-four states have already reopened schools and it’s time to get back to some normalcy. As the Covid situation now seems under control, we have to go to the normal state. Most students don’t take online education very seriously and even copy the text and answer in online exams. Also, many parents don’t want to pay the 70 percent fees as decided by the government while we remain in online mode. But how can schools run without parents paying the fees.”
Teachers in the state will also be given special training by the Health Department to ensure they follow COVID-19 protocols, according to officials. But most parents remain anxious about their children’s safety as the crisis still persists.
A parent in Jaipur, Rateesh Sareen, echoed the worries of most parents.
Sareen remarked, “There is no point in rushing. I will not send my children to school in this session. We have had two sessions with online classes and we don’t want any compromise with the safety of our children. It seems that this move is to address the issue of non-payment of fees by parents. We need to be more watchful. While cases may be decreasing in Rajasthan, we should learn from the other countries like the UK which lifted stringent measures but were hit severely by the second wave which has been devastating them and still continues to till date.”
At Kota, the ‘Coaching Capital of India’ for entrance exams of all medical and engineering colleges, the decision to reopen educational institutions was widely welcomed. As they get set to reopen after a gap of over nine months, most coaching centers are delighted that they will soon see the thousands of students who annually train here for admissions to IIT, AIEEE and PMT exams.
The Director of one of the leading Coaching Centres, Allen Career Institute, Naveen Maheshwari welcomed the government’s move. He remarked, “The health and safety of our students has always been a top priority for us. We will enforce all COVID-19 protocols prescribed by the government. I am confident that with the trust of parents and our efforts, the dreams of students who come to Kota will once again be fulfilled.”