Attendance not compulsory, Govt says present arrangement of offline and online classes should continue

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Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui on Wednesday said that the majority of the heads of various schools and colleges were of the collective opinion that the present arrangement of offline and online classes should continue in the state.

Speaking to reporters, Rymbui said that a meeting was convened by the Additional Chief Secretary in-charge of Education with the heads of various schools and colleges to take their views and opinions regarding the COVID-19 situation in the state.

With regards to the functioning of the colleges, he said it was unanimously agreed that the present system should continue.

“Also for class XI and XII as well as for class 6 to 8, the majority feels that the present arrangement (offline and online classes) should continue,” he said.

The minister however said there was a divided opinion regarding the issue related to class KG to 5.

“But they also said that the present arrangement is also good because the online option is not feasible at all even in urban areas also,” he said.

However stating that the government will review the COVID-19 situation periodically, Rymbui said, “If any corrective steps need to be taken, we will take the decision at an appropriate time.”

When asked the reason behind the divided opinion on class KG to V, the minister said, “…many have expressed their opinion that online class how far it is true I have no right to cast any aspersion, it is only parents who help their children, so they don’t get real knowledge. What is the use of school, it is for children to get the knowledge and education so somebody (wants) online somebody offline but as you know that the present system we did is that we have not insisted on attendance. We leave to the school authority to stagger the class. Some schools may have 50-60 students, they may stagger in such a manner but no decision fits all as there are some schools which have only 12 students per class. For them normal class is enough– they say the present arrangement is good enough.”

He reiterated that if the situation arises in the coming days then necessary decisions will be taken. “I will also present these views to the government for taking necessary steps,” Rymbui said.

On the concern expressed by parents on sending their children to schools in view of the sudden surge in the number of COVID-19 cases, Rymbui said, “attendance is not compulsory so parents who feel that they are not comfortable to send their children to schools they can do online or they can do whatever system the schools provide them.”