Fees reduction

The Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) on Friday decided to set up a committee. This will include the officials from the education and health departments.

The objective will be to work out a strategy to reopen educational institutes in the Capital, said a senior official, adding that deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia reportedly told the DDMA meeting that at least 90% of the parents who attended the mega parent-teacher meeting (PTM) of students of government schools are favor of reopening schools.

The DDMA meeting was chaired by lieutenant governor Anil Baijal, who is the chairperson of the DDMA, and attended by Delhi chief minister and DDMA vice-chairperson Arvind Kejriwal, deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia and health minister Satyendar Jain. NITI Aayog member Dr. VK Paul, AIIMS chief Dr. Randeep Guleria, ICMR director-general Dr. Balram Bhargava and NCDC director Dr. Sujit Singh also attended the meeting.

The official further said that of the 33,000 people who wrote to an e-mail feedback campaign, 68% of respondents wanted schools to reopen and 83% voted for colleges to reopen.

The special PTM was conducted in Delhi government schools from July 19 to 31 to guide parents on online education and seek their suggestions on the reopening of schools.

Dr. Jacob John, former head of the clinical virology department at Christian Medical College in Tamil Nadu’s Vellore, said: “The authorities have to plan each step meticulously. Re-opening of schools and education institutes should ideally be done in a phased manner. We have to remember that children are yet to be vaccinated against Covid-19 and the state governments should not only keep demanding that children be vaccinated but also propose plans to the central government.

Delhi can consider opening senior classes in a few schools in each district and observe trends for a period – say two weeks. They should take further calls based on the observations in each phase. They also must ensure that the entire staff – teachers to administrative officials and bus drivers – are fully vaccinated at least two weeks before schools and colleges open.

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We all are waiting for normalcy to be restored. As teachers, we are worried about the dilution that online teaching and examination has caused. However, the university needs to bring a well-thought-out plan. Reopening cannot be a rushed exercise, said Abha Dev Habib, treasurer at Delhi University Teachers’ Association.

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