The government is now working to vaccinate teachers, students and employees against the coronavirus ahead of the reopening of educational institutions.
The government has decided to reopen schools and colleges on March 30 while all universities will reopen on May 24 and dormitories of the universities will open on May 17.As part of its move to expedite the process of reopening schools and colleges, the government is now working relentlessly to ensure that teachers, students and employees receive the vaccine on a priority basis.
Talking to the Daily Sun, Prof Dr Mijanur Rahman, director (MIS) of the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), said, “Teachers of schools, colleges and universities will be vaccinated on a priority basis. A teacher option has already been included in the categories of vaccine recipients.”
Speaking at a meeting on the Covid-19 vaccine deployment and management, Health and Family Welfare Minister Zahid Maleque on March 3 said a specific portion of teachers and students will come under vaccination in the next phase.
On March 17 last year, the government closed all educational institutions aiming to contain the spread of coronavirus. The closure led to cancellation of exams, throwing academic calendars into disarray.
Speaking at a programme through videoconferencing from Ganabhaban on February 28, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said, “It’s a challenging issue but we hope that all educational institutions will be able to reopen on March 30.”
“In the meantime, all the teachers and staff of educational institutions have to be vaccinated. We’ve already instructed the Ministry of Health to take action on that front and the vaccine will be administered to everyone,” she said.The premier further said students who are above the minimum age for vaccination as per the WHO guidelines will also be inoculated.
Following the government’s decision, the Education Ministry on February 28 asked all teachers and students of schools and colleges to receive the Covid-19 vaccine through proper ways.
It was mentioned in the directives that the teachers and employees aged above 40 years have to take the jab through registering online.
However, the list of the teachers and employees of government and non-government schools and colleges who are below 40 will have to be sent to the DGHS to include them in the system so that they can register.
After confirmation of their option for registration, the teachers and students below 40 have to receive the vaccine through registration, according to the directives.
Meanwhile, the Directorate of Primary Education (DPE) on February 28 sent letters signed by its Assistant Director Nazrul Islam to the divisional officials seeking lists of the teachers and employees of kindergartens for their vaccination.
There are around 1.2 million teachers and employees at 60,000 kindergartens across the country.
The government has also a plan to ensure vaccine for all the resident students of public universities before reopening of the dormitories on May 17.
Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni on February 22 said all 1.30 lakh resident students of 220 halls of public universities will get vaccinated before the reopening of their dormitories.
All teachers and employees of the public universities will get inoculated before the resumption of classes, she added.
Following the instructions, the teachers and staffers of educational institutions started registering through surokkha.gov.bd website or Surokkha mobile app for receiving the vaccine while many have already received their first doses of the jab.
After an inter-ministerial meeting on the reopening of educational institutions, the education minister on February 27 said around 1.5 lakh teachers have already taken the Covid-19 vaccine.
According to Bangladesh Bureau of Educational Information and Statistics (BANBEIS), there are over 4 crore students from pre-primary to higher education levels in the country. Of them, over 1.69 crore students are at the primary level while 75.10 lakh at secondary, 29.15 lakh at higher secondary, 21.97 lakh at madrasa and 5.6 lakh at the technical level and 70,000 are professional students.
There are a total of 4,434,451 students currently enrolled in public universities, private universities and colleges with some varsities.
The DGHS has received a primary list of teachers and students (over 18 years) of government colleges, universities, madrasas and technical institutions from the Education Ministry.
However, this was not the final list and the ministry will send the final one to the DGHS within few days.
DGHS officials said they will include the names of the teachers and students on final list in their Management Information System (MIS) website after receiving it and then the teachers and students below 40 years can register for taking the vaccine.