Jharkhand minister keen to reopen schools from 2nd week of February

Jharkhand minister keen to reopen schools from 2nd week of February

The Jharkhand education department is keen to reopen schools and colleges from the second week of February in view of fewer Covid cases being recorded over the last fortnight.

State  education minister Jagarnath Mahto on Saturday directed department secretary Rajesh Sharma to send a formal proposal to the state disaster management department for reopening schools from class 1 to 12.

The education department is also keen to resume in-person classes at coaching centres,  colleges and universities in the wake of upcoming board exams and various competitive exams later in the year.

As scheduled, Mahto held two separate meetings at his residence on Saturday morning. First, he met with representatives of the parents body, Private Schools and Welfare Association (PSWA), which has been advocating resumption of in-person classes in schools and  colleges for the last couple of months. Thereafter, he also held a meeting with officials of his department.

The final decision, on when to reopen educational institutions, will be taken by the state disaster management authority (SDMA) headed by chief minister Hemant Soren.

Sources said that the education department was looking at reopening schools and colleges from the second week of February.

Confirming the development, Sharma said, “We are going to send a proposal to the SDMA with our recommendations to reopen schools and colleges. From our end we are keen to resume normal classes, but the final decision has to come from CM.”

Talking to reporters, minister Mahto  conceded that the system of online learning has always been a challenge for a state like Jharkhand where digital literacy was poor and access to   electronic gadgets limited. “I am  of the view that such a long closure of schools, for almost two years now,  is a concern for our poor students,” he said.  

After the phase-out of the second wave in late 2021, the state government allowed reopening of schools from Class 6 and above. Higher education centres were also allowed to function in both online and offline mode. But from the beginning of this month, all educational institutes were shut again due to the outbreak of the third, Omicron wave. The current phase of restrictions is due to expire on January 31.