Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh): The Madhya Pradesh government is considering to reopen schools for Classes 6 to 8 from next month, a state minister said on Thursday.
The government had earlier reopened schools for Classes 9 to 12 across the state in the last week of July with 50 per cent cap on attendance. But these classes are being held only on specific days a week.
Talking to PTI, Madhya Pradesh Education Minister Inder Singh Parmar said, "We have made up our mind to reopen from next month the middle schools (Classes 6 to 8), which have remained shut due to coronavirus. But we are extra cautious to take a call on it in view of the pandemic." His statement comes at a time when private schools are demanding reopening of schools for all classes in the state.
At least 45,000 private schools affiliated to the Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education have announced to stage sit-in protests across the state from September 2 to demand reopening of schools for all classes in compliance with the COVID-19 norms.
Parmar said he would seek Chief Minister Shivraj Singh's approval by this month end over the plan to reopen the schools (for Classes 6 to 8).
"First we have plans to reopen middle schools with limited students on specific days a week. We are thinking over it. After that we will think about resumption of classes for primary schools (Classes 1 to 5) with safeguards in place," he said.
When asked about the MP Private School Association's (MPPSA) demand of reopening schools for all classes immediately, Parmar said the government was also thinking on those lines, but at the same time taking into consideration the coronavirus situation.
He said the government was thinking about increasing the number of days for holding classroom sessions for the students of Classes 9 to 11.
MPPSA president Ajeet Singh said that during their protest next month, private schools will not suspend online or physical classes for the students of Classes 9 to 12 held on different days in a week.
Asked about MPPSA's demand that the government clear their dues for providing education to the unprivileged children under the Right to Education (RTE), the minister said the state is yet to make payments to the institutes who have not completed their paperwork.
"A system would be put in place to ensure the pending dues problem does not arise for this year," Parmar added.
Replying to a question over the private schools being firm on launching their protest next month, he said that in democracy they have freedom to do so.
"We have a responsibility. If something happens to a child due to coronavirus, the school and the government will face the heat," he added.
Madhya Pradesh reported five fresh coronavirus positive cases on Wednesday.
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