Speakers at a national seminar here today emphasized reaching all the grassroots students across the country through alternative teaching methods with a specific comprehensive remedial package to reduce the study gaps triggered by the Covid-19.
Since the school closure for 18 months till September last year caused a huge study gap to and affected the mental health of the school students, they also stressed arranging courtyard sessions with parents to improve their physiological wellbeing.
The Institute of Education and Research (IER) of Dhaka University (DU) conducted study among the students of different schools and learning centers run by Friendship in the country’s char areas.
State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Md Zakir Hossen addressed the seminar as the chief guest with IER Professor Dr Abdul Malek in the chair.
Speaking at the seminar, the state minister said it was very difficult to keep the students involved in schooling and education through the Covid-19 lockdown.
“Nevertheless, due to the efforts of the government and development partners, it has been possible to continue the education of school students in alternative ways”, he said.
Zakir said as all educational institutions across the country were closed from March 2020 to September 11, 2021, the education of about 40 million students from primary to secondary had been continuing through alternative teaching methods.
Founder and Executive Director of Friendship Runa Khan delivered the welcome speech at the seminar and said since 2002, Friendship has been trying to improve the living conditions of marginalized people in the deltaic island (char) areas.
Along with other welfare-oriented activities, she said, the Friendship has given special attention to the education of 4,307 students at 43 primary schools and 16 secondary schools and 980 students at 49 adult learning centers under the Friendship’s education programme in remote inaccessible Char Island of Kurigram and Gaibandha districts.
Noting that the school closure caused huge study gaps to the school students compared to the period of attending classes physically, Runa emphasized bringing all the remote area students under the alternative teaching methods reaching electricity and other accessible devices to the students.
Associate Professor of DU IER Dr Shah Shamim Ahmed said though the study found that the alternative learning methods has failed to yield the cent-percent outcome like physical classes, there is no alternative to that in terms of protective the children from the lethal virus.
“We should pay attention to improve the teaching quality and make the alternative teaching methods accessible to all remote area students,” he said.
Professor of DU IER Dr SM Hafizur Rahman, Director of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education Professor AQM Shafiul Azam, National Curriculum and Textbook Board Member Professor AKM Reazul Hasan, Director (training) of the Department of Primary Education Uttam Kumar Das and a2i Policy Specialist Afzal Hossain Sarwar spoke at the event, among others.