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Education

Updated on: Thursday, December 16, 2021, 09:25 AM IST

FPJ-Ed | Mumbai: 27.65% attendance in primary schools on first day

Mumbai schools for classes 1-7  reopened yesterday | BMC

Mumbai schools for classes 1-7 reopened yesterday | BMC

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Nearly 27.65 per cent students from Classes 1-7 attended schools that reopened on December 15 after 21 months. The decision to send children has been left to parents, who need to fill consent forms. However, many parents have not evinced interest due to renewed fear over the Omicron variant of coronavirus.

As per BMC data, there are 6.53 lakh primary students in Mumbai’s municipal schools, of which 1.80 lakh students attended on day one of reopening. 2.35 lakh parents gave their consent.

Alleviating fears, BMC education officer Raju Tadvi said of the 24,972 teaching and non-teaching staff, 24,306 have attended school today. He said 100 per cent schools have been disinfected before reopening and arrangements have been made for masks, thermal guns, and pulse oximeters.

State education minister Varsha Gaikwad had declared that all schools will open from December 1 but the schedule was postponed due to the Omicron threat. However, within days, the state government decided to let primary schools reopen to avoid any further loss of learning.

Experts in the education sector, teachers and parents have been demanding the reopening for some time now. As per the state government guidelines, only fully vaccinated teaching and non-teaching staff is allowed in schools.

It was mandatory for all staff members to bring a negative RT-PCR test report on the first day on December 15. Moreover, only one student is allowed on each bench and there are restrictions on the activities on assembling at one place.

Meanwhile, the overall atmosphere in schools was of jubilance. Junita Gaikwad, the headmistress of Regina Pacis Convent School, Byculla, said, “With filled halls, classrooms, and corridors, we felt so good. Our kids will adjust to this new normal soon. As a result, a new journey has begun.” Anandi Anand Gade, head teacher of Prabodhan Thackeray Municipal Marathi School, Mumbai, said a good number of students attended the school after months of the pandemic.

“Children were happy. Seeing their smiling faces, teachers were also filled with joy,” Gade said. Students were greeted with balloons and a welcome dance was performed at Mumbai Public School (CBSE), Chikuwadi in Borivali. Headmistress Asuntha Kastya said, “Children were ecstatic to be in the classroom. The atmosphere was cheerful and everyone was filled with joy and enthusiasm when Santa Claus welcomed them.”

However, a few schools are still scheduling and adjusting their reopening dates because of the ongoing board exams. Hamsini Ravi, a parent of a Class 1 student, said, “My child’s learning gaps are massive and now he wants to go to school. Though it is a short week of reopening, it could be used to transition kids to offline learning. We are still trying to contact the school for reopening.”

Worried about learning gaps among children, Bhaskaran Raman, a parent of two, said they haven’t heard anything from their school management yet. “It’s high time now; we should make life normal for children.”

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Published on: Thursday, December 16, 2021, 09:25 AM IST
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