After the disparity created by the online classes among the urban and rural areas students, due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the Meghalaya government has decided to allow resumption of normal classroom activities in schools from November 30 from class 9 to 12.
“We have decided to allow schools to resume normal classroom teaching for students of classes 9 to 12 from November 30, provided they strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui told reporters on Tuesday.
He, however, said that schools in rural areas can also resume normal classroom activities for classes 6 to 8, except areas like Khanapara and Nongpoh in Ri Bhoi and Jowai in West Jaintia Hills.
“This decision has been taken because we have seen that the penetration of the online classes in the state is only about 30 percent. Therefore, it is very difficult for students especially those in rural areas (to get equal opportunity and access) to learning,” said Rymbui.
According to him, most of the schools in the urban areas are much ahead as they have completed their courses and, in fact, are conducting examinations.
“However, the decision taken is subjected to the consent of the parents and the school managing committees,” said the Education Minister.
Stating that attendance is not compulsory, the minister said “It is voluntary. Those who want to learn and interact (with their teachers), the government is providing them a chance to learn through classroom teachings.”
When asked if the government would consider granting general promotion for students from nursery to class 9 in the state, Rymbui did not give a direct reply but said that the government had taken decision to extend the current academic session till February next year along with the curriculum for the current academic revised by shortening the topics to be covered by the students
“However, whether there will be offline or online examinations, that decision will be taken before the end of the academic year,” he further stated.
The Education minister also said that he was of the opinion that issuing of certificates without any examination would be meaningless if students had not learned anything.