Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on Thursday reiterated that the government will not allow reopening of educational institutions unless the COVID-19 situation improves in the country.
“Considering the safety of the children, we have given time till January 15. If the situation improves within this time then the schools will reopen, otherwise not,” she said.Mentioning that online study will continue until the educational institutions reopen, the Prime Minister reiterated her call to countrymen to maintain proper health guidelines to combat the spread of Covid-19 pandemic.
The Premier came up with this while addressing a programme to inaugurate the distribution of textbooks among students. The ceremony was held at Bangabandhu International Conference Center (BICC). Prime Minister joined the event through videoconferencing from her official residence Ganabhaban.
Sheikh Hasina said that she knows it very well that the children and the students are the worst sufferers of the COVID-19 as their educational institutions remain shut for a long time.
“No one knows when the world will be free from the coronavirus. When we started thinking of reopening of the educational institutions, the second wave of COVID-19 hit,” she said.
“We are handing over the textbooks to ensure the continuation of their academic activities,” she said, asking the authorities concerned to distribute the books in phases maintaining health guidelines.
The Prime Minister said that today’s children are the future of the country and they will become the worthy citizens of the country through getting a proper education in respective fields.The textbook distribution will begin today (Friday) at educational institutions across the country. The government will distribute over 343.6 million textbooks among 416 million students this year.
The primary level students will get the new books on the first day of the New Year but the students of class XI to IX will get the books within 12 consecutive days.
Usually, the textbooks are distributed to students on January 1 amid festivity every New Year since 2010, but this will not be held this year due to the corona pandemic.
Sheikh Hasina urged the parents to give special attention to the children to keep their mental and physical health sound by encouraging them to read other books alongside textbooks and continue playing and physical activities during this Coronavirus situation.
She said the students can continue their study staying at home as educational institutions are running academic activities through online platforms.
“Although coronavirus gives us a lot of pain, you (parents) have got a scope of spending time with your kids alongside daily workloads. So you should utilize this opportunity,” she said.
The Prime Minister said an initiative has been taken to impart training to the educational institution’s head and focal point teachers on how to deal with the mental health problems of secondary level students caused by the longtime closure of schools.
Emphasizing on maintaining the health protocols again, Sheikh Hasina urged all to wear facemask during movement outside. She also highlighted different initiatives taken by the government for students and teachers in this Covid-19 pandemic period.
She said salaries, allowances and retire benefit were provided to 2,055 teachers and employees of 1,646 schools and colleges through MPO enrollment and appointment of 676 trade instructors by introducing stipend courses in 640 educational institutions was made.
Besides, retirement benefit of Tk 5.17 billion was given to 5,351 non-government teachers and employees and Tk 2.18 billion to 5,446 teacher and employees by solving application of welfare allowance, she said.
On behalf of the prime minister, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni and State Minister for Primary and Mass Education Md. Zakir Hossen handed over the new books to few primary, secondary and technical and madrasa levels students at BICC following health guidelines.
Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury and Chairmen of the Parliamentary Standing Committees on Ministry of Education and Ministry of Primary and Mass Educations Afsarul Amin, MP and Mustafizur Rahman, MP respectively were also present at BICC.
Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister Dr Ahmad Kaikaus conducted the virtual function while Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam and concerned officials were present at Ganabhaban.
The Awami League-led government has been distributing textbooks among the pre-primary and secondary students free of cost on the first day of every New Year (January 1) by holding a national textbook festival since 2010.
Over 3.31 billion textbooks were distributed among students from 2010 to 2020, said NCTB.