As the SOP in this regard has been sent for approval to state education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, official sources in the education department told TOI that at the bureaucratic level, the popular opinion has been arranging in-campus classes for the elementary section from class 1 to 5 on every alternate day.
“The SOP awaits the state education minister’s green signal for resumption of regular classes through offline mode in campuses like it used to be conducted before the breakout of Covid-19. However, hostels of the residential institutions, whether private or government, are unlikely to open from January 1, except for the final year students,” a senior education department official said on condition of anonymity.
Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma is likely to give his nod to the SOP soon, though the government might come with a few last-minute changes.
“Reopening of on-campus classes for students of class 1 to 5 has been mulled on every alternate day. However, considering the health concerns of the students enrolled in lower primary standards, the state government will have to make a crucial call,” the official added.
Even as schools and colleges in Assam formally reopened in Assam on November 2 for students from class 6 onwards after seven months since the Covid crisis, the offline classes in the universities and colleges hit the hurdles to some extent, as the state government has not allowed reopening of the hostels for all the students yet.
Sources in the education department said that if the SOP finally allows reopening of the hostels only for the final year students, the rest of the students will have to arrange their own accommodation facilities.
In the educational institutions of the state, online classes are continuing, including those enrolled in technical education in engineering colleges. But officials are worried over prolonged delay in reopening residential institutions like the engineering colleges where practical classes need to be attended by the students.
As conducting online classes have been most difficult for the kids studying between classes 1 to 5, the primary teachers have demanded reopening of the offline classes for the lower class students who are not familiar with online education like the grown-ups.
“On November 5, we met the state education minister and raised the demand to reopen offline classes for the primary classes, at least for class 4 and 5 students. Bringing the smaller kids to the schools is very important because they can not handle mobile phones or computers like the students of secondary or higher classes. A large number of primary students have forgotten the lessons taught to them before the schools were closed. If an urgent decision is not taken to reopen offline classes for them, the drop out rate will go up surely,” said Assam State Primary Teachers’ Association general secretary Ratul Chandra Goswami.