At least 75 per cent students and 76 per cent guardians want schools to reopen as soon as possible adhering to recommended health guidelines amid the Covid-19 pandemic, according to a study.
Besides, 58 per cent teachers and 52 per cent upazila education officers opined that educational institutions should reopen using caution, it said.Campaign for Popular Education (CAMPE) on Tuesday unveiled the report of the study titled “Education Watch Study-2020-21” at a virtual press conference.
CAMPE Executive Director Rasheda K Choudhury and Dr Mostafizur Rahman, a researcher of Education Watch, presented the research findings at the programme.
The study was conducted among 2,992 individuals. Of them, 1,709 are students of primary and secondary schools while 578 teachers and 576 are guardians.
According to the findings, 73 per cent district education officers and 80 per cent officials of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) gave their opinions in favour of reopening schools.
Of the teachers, 82 per cent underscored the need for following health guidelines like using masks and hand sanitiser, and maintaining social distancing for reopening educational institutions.
According to the study, around 69.5 per cent students did not take part in distance-learning classes carried out online and on television and radio during the coronavirus pandemic.Of the students, 57.90 per cent were deprived of the remote learning for lack of necessary devices while 16.50 percent did not take part as they were not attracted to distance-learning programmes.
The percentage of deprivation in remote learning is 68.9 per cent in rural areas.
A staggering 99.3 per cent students who participated in the study informed that they conducted their studies by themselves at home during the school closure.
Over 62 per cent teachers think the syllabus of students should be shortened to reduce the gap which was created due to the pandemic.
The study also found that 20 per cent students wanted to be promoted to next classes without sitting for any examination.
Around 38 per cent primary school teachers opined that the presence of students will come down after reopening of schools while 20 per cent students may drop out and 8.7 per cent may engage in child labour.
Around 41.2 per cent secondary school teachers think the presence of students may reduce after the reopening while the dropout rate may increase to 29 per cent.
Forty-seven per cent district education officers opined that the presence of students may be reduced after the reopening of schools while 33 per cent students may drop out and 20 per cent may get involved with child labour.
The study also found that families of the students faced financial hardship during the pandemic.
It said around 73 per cent families of the students were able to meet the basic needs in 2019 but it reduced to 29.46 per cent due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The rate of families was 10.4 per cent who faced deficit in most of the time in 2019 which increased to 41.2 per cent amid the pandemic.
Around 93 per cent teachers were able to meet the basic needs in 2019 but the rate came down to 67.65 per cent during the coronavirus situation.
The study suggested that schools should reopen in phases following health guidelines and the government should come up with the announcement immediately.
It said the authorities should primarily reopen classes X-XII and later the education programme of classes IV-V and then others.
The study report also suggested cancelling the Primary Education Completion (PEC) and Junior School Certificate (JSC) examinations and holding the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams with short syllabuses.
It recommended taking a two-year plan to recoup the losses the education sector suffered due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
The study report also underscored the need for giving importance to basic subjects of students.