After a long wait of 18 months, residential halls of Dhaka University opened on Tuesday, marking a step forward to reopening of not only the DU but also all other universities of the country. It is because the reopening of DU halls came at a time when education ministry and public universities were looking for ways for a smooth resumption of physical classes. But reopening of the dormitories appeared to a prerequisite for resumption of face-to-face classes, at least in public universities.
The government has rightly brought the university students, teachers and officials into its vaccine priority list and was planning to reopen the universities after vaccination of all students. But it appeared that a majority of the students even didn’t register for the Covid-19 jab so far, let alone receiving vaccines. In this situation the DU authorities’ opened a number of vaccination points at Dhaka Medical College for vaccinating the university students, teachers and other officials, and opened the dormitories for those who received at least one dose of the jab. Certainly, this is a right step forward and we welcome the DU authorities’ decision. It is hoped that other universities will also take prompt action to vaccinate their students and reopen physical classes because the country’s education system can no longer afford disruption in academic activities.
The cost of this long closure has been heavy in terms of learning loss, drop out, session jam, economic hardship of private institutions and so on. However, the good news is schools have already been reopened and universities too are likely to reopen within this month. After reopening, the university authorities will have their hands full to focus on recovery of the learning losses of the students. At the same time students have a responsibility to maintain covid-19 health guidelines.