- Package will cover selected topics from all subjects in the syllabus
- Students will get expected competencies in core academic skills
- NCTB already prepared a package for primary-level students
- Another package in the pipeline for secondary-level students
- One lakh teachers received training about nutrition
- Two lakh more will be trained on mental health
- SSC examinations could begin in July this year
The government is preparing a remedial learning strategy for all primary to secondary level students in a bid to help them recover the lost academic progress they would have gained if their schools were not closed due to the pandemic.
This strategy, aptly named "Remedial Package," will also allow students to reach expected competencies in basic subjects.
The National Curriculum and Textbook Board (NCTB) has already prepared a remedial package for primary-level students, and is currently preparing another for secondary-level learners, its Chairman Prof Narayan Chandra Saha told The Business Standard on Sunday.
Pointing out that it is essential to recover the learning losses, he said, "The remedial package will cover selected topics from all subjects in the syllabus. We will submit it to the education ministry, and primary and mass education ministry before the educational institutions reopen.
"We have identified that students were promoted to their next classes with learning losses. Assignment evaluations and experts' opinion helped us identify the learning losses, and this is why we are readying a short package for students to make them academically prepared."
Professor Emeritus of Brac University Dr Manzoor Ahmed has welcomed the government's initiative for recovering the learning losses of students, saying, "It is a good initiative, but the education ministry must train the teachers to implement it properly."
All schools and colleges across the country will reopen on 30 March, after more than a year of shutdown due to the Covid-19 crisis. This decision was taken on Saturday at an inter-ministerial meeting at the secretariat.
Education ministry sources said it has already prepared a short syllabus for Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations, prioritising basic subjects and topics.
The SSC students will take classes for 60 days and HSC students for 80 days. Both SSC and HSC students will get 15 days to prepare for their examinations after completing the short syllabus. The education ministry plans to hold SSC examinations in July this year.
Hinting at the matter, Education Minister Dipu Moni at a press conference on Saturday said, "We will take the SSC and HSC examinations after students complete their syllabus. The SSC exams could begin in July.
The ministry did not shorten the syllabus of other classes except SSC and HSC examinations.
The ministry also plans to make health safety mandatory at schools even after the pandemic period. It will provide financial assistance to institutions that lack the capability to purchase health safety products.
Responding to a query, the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education's Director General Prof Syed Golam Faruk said, "We have asked schools and colleges to follow health safety guidelines issued by the health ministry and World Health Organisation (WHO).
"A majority of them have already made their institutions ready as per the guideline."
He continued, "We have trained around one lakh teachers about nutrition, as we assumed that many students could be suffering from malnutrition. Another two lakh will receive training on mental health so that they can provide their students – as well as other teachers – with primary treatment.
"Initially, students of class V will attend their classes for 5 days in a week, and class X and XII will be allowed to take classes for six days a week. The students of other classes will attend school one day a week. Only one student will be allowed per bench, and a maximum of 25-30 students will attend a class together."
'It will be tough'
Students and guardians have urged the government to ensure the highest level of health safety before reopening the educational institutions.
Mehrab Hossain Chowdhury, a guardian, told The Business Standard, "My son is waiting eagerly to resume school. But we are deeply concerned about the possibility of a Covid-19 infection. The education ministry must ensure that health guidelines are properly implemented at all schools.
Dr Rajib Shahriar, a physician, said there is a significant possibility that the children might get infected, and it will be tough for the government to ensure health safety for all the students.
The government on 16 March last year decided to shut down all educational institutions and coaching centres from 18 to 31 March for the sake of students' safety from the coronavirus infection.
The period was later extended several times. The government also did not hold Primary School Certificate (PSC), Junior School Certificate (JSC), and their equivalent exams last year due to the pandemic.
The PSC and JSC examinees were promoted automatically, while HSC students were assessed based on their JSC and SSC results. All students from the primary to secondary level were also promoted automatically.
About 4.5 crore students from the pre-primary to higher education level are enrolled in nearly two lakh educational institutions across the country.