June 24, 2024, 2:57 am

Special Correspondent

2024-04-30 10:58:52 BdST

Confusion over closure leaves students burning

A tumultuous debate has unfolded within the government regarding the closure of educational institutions as it reopened schools on Sunday after the Eid holiday while the High Court (HC) on Monday directed the government to close primary and secondary schools and madrasas until Thursday considering the ongoing heat wave.

However, the Ministry of Education neither issued any directive in compliance with the HC order nor filed any appeal against it till the filing of this report around 9:30 pm on Monday, much to the confusion of students, teachers and guardians.

However, the closure directives would not extend to O-level and A-level exams, colleges, universities, or schools equipped with air conditioning systems and conducting ongoing examinations, according to the HC directives.

However, inconsistencies persist in many schools and colleges in the capital, with some institutions adhering to government decisions while others remain operational, causing confusion among students and parents.

Lack of formal notice from authorities has led many to endure the scorching sun to reach schools, only to be informed of closures upon arrival at the gate.

Discrepancies arise when speaking with institutions’ authorities. Some claim to have closed their schools after receiving the government decision the previous night, while others assert that they have not yet received official confirmation, leading them to keep their schools open.

On Monday morning, multiple educational institutions in Dania, Shanir Akhra, Mohammadpur, Badda, Rampura, and Banashri areas of the capital were observed to be operational. Students and parents note that while many schools were advised to close, no official instructions were provided.

Conversely, in the institutions which were closed, authorities failed to promptly inform students.

College branch classes at Ideal School in Rampura remained operational despite the heatwave. On Monday, HSC batch students who performed poorly in tests were subjected to re-examinations, enduring intense heat during exams scheduled from 12:30 pm. Concurrently, 12th-grade classes also continued.

Teachers and students said they attended classes amid the scorching heat as the institution failed to communicate the closure directives.

An assistant teacher at the school said that despite informing the principal about the government directive the previous night, all teachers were instructed to report to the college. Consequently, classes proceeded despite the sweltering conditions, with classrooms lacking air conditioning.

Principal Jahangir Alam justified the decision to keep the school open, citing ongoing official activities in preparation for the upcoming HSC exams.

However, he acknowledged that many students were unaware of the closure directive, resulting in classes being conducted for those who arrived uninformed. “As they had already reached the school, I did not send them back.”

Professor Syed Zafar Ali of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education assured that all educational institutions are promptly informed of any vacation decisions via notices published on the ministry and directorate’s websites.

He also said should be no confusion regarding closure directives. He also warned of consequences for institutions failing to comply with closure directives, pledging action against any institution found to be operating against official instructions.

Over 100 teachers, and students fall sick

Meanwhile, it has been reported that over a hundred teachers and students across various regions of the country, including Faridpur and Narail, have suffered from heat-related illnesses amid the intense heatwave.

In Saltha, Faridpur, three teachers and ten students fell ill due to the scorching temperatures.

Additionally, 12 students of Itna Secondary School and College in Lohagara upazila in Narail were reported to have fallen ill due to the extreme heat.

Ziaul Kabir Dulu, president of the Ovivabok Oikko Forum (parents’ unity forum), expressed concerns to media, stating that they had demanded online classes in the current situation, which was not agreed upon by the relevant ministries.

He said the government is indecisive and lacks coordination regarding the closure of the educational institutions, which has led to varying decisions being made at different times, endangering the lives of children.

Dulu urged for the suspension of all class examinations for the week, in line with the court instructions, warning that the government would bear responsibility for any student accidents if their demands were not met.

According to the Ministry of Education, in consultation with the Directorate of Meteorology, educational institutions in several districts, including all districts in Khulna and Rajshahi divisions, Dhaka, Tangail, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Gazipur, and Manikganj districts in Dhaka division, as well as Kurigram and Dinajpur districts of Rangpur division, and all secondary schools, colleges, madrasas, and technical schools in Patuakhali district of Barisal division, will remain closed on 30 April.

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