After eight months, schools in Meghalaya once again set to resume normal cases. The state government has decided to allow schools to resume normal classroom activities for classes 9 to 12 from November 30.
The decision was taken after taking into consideration that there has been a lot of disparity created by the online classes among the students in urban and rural areas of the state due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“We have decided to allow schools to resume normal classroom teaching for students of classes 9 to 12 from November 30, provided that they strictly follow the standard operating procedures (SOPs),” Education Minister Lahkmen Rymbui told Meghalaya News 24 on Tuesday.
Rymbui however said schools in rural areas can also resume normal classroom activities for classes 6 to 8 except areas like Khanapara, Nongpoh in Ri Bhoi district, and Jowai in West Jaintia Hills district.
“This decision has been taken because we have seen that the penetration of the online classes in the state is only about 30 percent. Therefore, it is very difficult for students especially those in rural areas (to get equal opportunity and access) to learning,” he said.
According to him, most of the schools in urban areas are much ahead as they have completed their courses and in fact, are conducting examinations.
“However, the decision taken is subjected to the consent of the parents and the school managing committees,” he said.
Stating that attendance is not compulsory, the minister said “It is voluntary. For those who want to learn and interact (with their teachers), the government is providing them a chance to learn through classroom teachings.”
Asked if the government will consider granting general promotion for students of classes Nursery to 9 in the state, Rymbui however did not give a direct reply but said the government has already decided to extend the current academic session till February, next year.
He added that the government has also revised the curriculum for the current academic session by shortening the topics to be covered by the students.
“However, whether there will be offline or online examinations, that decision will be taken before the end of the academic year,” he further stated.
Meanwhile, the minister said that he is of the opinion that issuing certificates without any examination would be meaningless if students have not learned anything.