Breaking News: Schools and educational institutions are unlikely to reopen on September 1 as expected following a decision by the Parliamentary Standing Committee under the Ministry of HRD yesterday, which also decided not to have a 'zero' academic year, according to the sources.
Putting to rest the speculations about reopening of schools and colleges in September under Unlock 3.0, the parliamentary committee refused to give a timeline for reopening schools and educational institutions sighting surging COVID cases across the country.
The committee, however, has decided not to have a 'zero academic year' for colleges hinting at the likelihood of conducting final-year exams towards the end of 2020.
Informing the parliamentary panel about Centre's decision, Higher Education Secretary Amit Khare said that the government is not keen on treating the current academic session as a "zero year" and will ensure that all exams, both for schools and colleges are held by the end of this year.
Addressing the panel, the Higher Education Secretary said, "Students will get their classes online and offline, and all logistical support will be provided to ensure that exams happen. We are not going to treat the current academic session as a year-long holiday," as reported in The Print.
The parliamentary panel also assured that any decision regarding opening of schools will be taken keeping in mind students' safety as well as after consultation with states and all stakeholders involved.
Given the fact, that several schools and educational institutions have resorted to online-mode of teaching cutting across grades, suggestions regarding suspension of online classes up to class/grade 3, conducting limited virtual classes from class 3 to class 7, and holding of online classes on a full-scale for class 8 and above were placed at the parliamentary panel meeting.
The suggestions were placed considering the county's hinterland, which is not well networked and lacks the required infrastructure and tools such as smart-phones etc. to stream classes online.
According to new rules, as reported in the Economic Times, "Students of standard 10 and 12 will attend classes in their classrooms for first 15 days. If Class 10 has four sections, half the students of sections A and C would be required to come on particular days and the others on the remaining days"
Even the number of school hours will be limited to 5 to 6 hours, out of which 2 to 3 hours would require physical attendance, the report added.
The report further states, all schools are likely to run in two shifts - from 8 am to 11 am, and from 12 pm to 3 pm with one-hour break for sanitisation.
Schools are also likely to run with only 33 per cent of teachers, staff and students as a preventive measure to contain the spread of COVID-19 pandemic.