States

Maharashtra to decide on reopening schools only after assessing situation

Students stand in a long queue to appear for NEET exam with mask, hand gloves, sanitiser and water bottle at an exam centre in Kandivali in Mumbai.  

While the Union Education Ministry has issued guidelines to States on the reopening of schools and colleges from October 15, Maharashtra Minister of Higher and Technical Education Uday Samant on Tuesday said that in the current pandemic situation in the State it was not conducive to do so.

The Minister hinted that Maharashtra would be reopening schools and colleges only after assessing the COVID-19 situation.

“The decision to open up colleges will have to be based on the current spread of COVID-19 in the State… Maharashtra’s pandemic situation has not yet normalised. Hence, it will not be appropriate to physically conduct classes,” Mr. Samant said after a review meeting of preparations for final year exams with the authorities of the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU). He said that he had directed educational institutions to stop the collection of development fees from students as there had been no physical classes for the last few months.

Stating that the final year examinations would be conducted while taking due care of the health of the students, Mr. Samant said that two-and-a-half lakh students would be appearing for the final year examinations under the SPPU.

“Of them, two lakh students will be taking the exams online. The rest 50,000 students will be writing the exams offline,” Mr. Samant said, adding that all provisions had been made to ensure that students do not encounter any technical problems while taking their exams and that no student would be deprived of the exams. The disabled students will be get 20 extra minutes to complete their papers.

“For those appearing physically at the 113 exam centres, zilla parishad and Pune civic body authorities must ensure that the facilities are properly sanitised,” he said.

Mr. Samant further said that practice question papers would be given from October 8 while a grievance redressal centre would be set up to deal with any problem students might encounter.

However, a number of students across the State, especially in rural areas, are apprehensive about their online exams with several complaining about technical glitches, hall tickets, and power failure among others.

“About 60% of the students appearing for the final year examinations are from the rural areas. They face a range of problems from erratic electricity supply to poor range for mobile phones. Already, students appearing for Mumbai University’s final year exams have been bedevilled with poor internet connectivity and power outages with server failure and phones hanging in the middle of their examinations,” student leader Kuldeep Ambekar said.

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Printable version | Nov 24, 2020 3:43:58 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/states/maharashtra-to-decide-on-reopening-schools-only-after-assessing-situation/article32787212.ece

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