Schools closed till May 31 in Assam
The Assam government on Thursday announced summer vacations for educational institutions till May 31 with effect from May 1, instead of July, in a bid to curb further academic loss of students because of Covid-19.
Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said all educational institutions will remain closed till May 31 even if the lockdown lifts on May 17.
He also sought suggestions from people on whether the state can have a April 1-March 31 academic year instead of the existing January 1-December 31 calendar. “Instead of taking a unilateral decision, the government will take a decision based on the people’s opinion. We request people to send their suggestions or opinions to the Board of Secondary Education, Assam (Seba), so that we can take a decision within 20 days,” he said.
Sarma said the government-constituted education task force was in favour of changing the academic year.
He said colleges are also working on changing the academic year but it will depend on the guidelines of the UGC. College admissions will be done online this year. “Seba and the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council will not issue hardcopy of marksheets immediately. The students will get digital marksheets, which will serve the admission purpose,” he said.
Class XII students will be able to collect their textbooks from May 26 to 28 from their schools or colleges by maintaining social distancing and wearing masks. The state education department is working on a model to reopen class XII if the Covid scenario continues beyond May 31. It is thinking of allowing class XII students to attend classes in their nearest educational institutions even if they are not students of those institutions.
Sarma requested students to download Diksha app and subscribe to Biswa Vidya Assam YouTube channel for online learning and school teachers in rural areas to teach students on courtyards from June 1 if the lockdown continues. He said research scholars of science stream were allowed to visit laboratories in colleges and universities during the lockdown.
During the lockdown, Samagra Siksha Abhiyan will organise poems, short story and essay contests among students, 10,000 of whom will be awarded. The topics will be made available in the media from Saturday. Post-lockdown, teachers will collect these and send it to the education department.