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Open schools now, say academicians

Updated on: 15 August,2021 07:32 AM IST  |  Mumbai
Pallavi Smart |

Educationists and celebrities have taken to Twitter asking for schools to reopen or else they feel it will cause irreversible damage

Open schools now, say academicians

Bakul Parekh, Vasant Kalpande and Francis Joseph

If malls, shops, markets, restaurants and bars can reopen, then why not schools? The #BackToSchool movement has gained momentum on social media, as several educationists and academicians along with prominent personalities from the country took to Twitter.

While the state government’s education department has taken a major U-turn from declaring reopening of schools from August 17 to withdrawing the government resolution just two days after it was issued, the public has contradictory opinions.  While everyone understands the risks, educationists demand to begin with baby steps where phase-wise reopening can start a new normal. 

Bhaskaran Raman
Bhaskaran Raman

“We are already seeing effects on children which may last long or will take time to be dealt with. We can begin with baby steps with plans prepared by individual schools, in tandem with parents, so that all can ease into school,” shared Francis Joseph, from President of School Leaders Network (SLN) and an educationist who has been playing a pivotal role in many policy decisions in the school education sector. Former Chairperson of the Maharashtra State Board Vasant Kalpande, shared, “There is a major section of society where consuming education has become difficult, due to the digital divide. We have to understand that peer-learning, practice of social behaviour in the same age-group, understanding discipline, engaging the excessive physical energy and entertaining and channeling the curiosity of that young age, is possible at schools alone.”

Taking the same argument ahead, Bhaskaran Raman, Professor at the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Mumbai, said, “The first thing we must realise is that there is never zero risk in life. Numerous studies by dozens of countries show that schools are not more susceptible to cause Covid infection than any other public places.” 

Putting a different perspective to the discussion, senior paediatrician Dr Bakul Parekh said, “The three major points to consider are—parents should be willing, the number of Covid cases should be minimal in that district and schools/teachers should be prepared for it.”

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