The government has decided to extend the ongoing closure of schools and colleges and reopen them on 23 May this year.
"A decision has been taken to start classroom teaching in all educational institutions of secondary and higher secondary on 23 May, 2021 after the upcoming Eid-ul-Fitr," said a press release from the education ministry on Thursday.
Education Minister Dipu Moni announced the decision considering the health and overall safety of students, teachers, staff and parents amid the recent rise in the Covid-19 infection in Bangladesh, said the press release.
Earlier, the government had decided to reopen the educational institutions on 30 March this year, after more than a year of shutdown over the Covid-19 pandemic.
On 22 February this year, the ministry decided to reopen all universities on 24 May and university halls on 17 May.
Meanwhile, health experts said there is no scope of reopening the educational institutions right now as the infection rate is increasing every day.
They said the government should not allow the schools and colleges to resume the classes if the infection rate is above 5%.
Professor Nazrul Islam, a noted virologist and former vice-chancellor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, told The Business Standard, "The infection rate is increasing in the country as the people do not follow the health guideline. It will also be tough to implement the health guideline in schools. So, closure of educational institutions must be extended."
On 16 March last year, the education ministry issued a press release regarding the government's decision to close all educational institutions and coaching centres from 18 to 31 March, considering students' safety amid the global pandemic.
Later, the closure was extended several times – first till 9 April, then 25 April, 5 May, 30 May, 6 August, 31 August, 3 October, 31 October, 14 November, 19 December last year, and 16 January, 30 January and 30 March this year.
Classes remained suspended since schools were closed but administrative activities had resumed gradually.
The government also decided not to hold last year's Primary School Certificate (PSC), Junior School Certificate (JSC), Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and their equivalent exams due to the pandemic.
The PSC and JSC examinees got automatic promotion to the next class, while HSC students were assessed based on their JSC and Secondary School Certificate (SSC) results. All students from primary to secondary level were also promoted automatically.
There are about 4.5 crore students from pre-primary to higher education level at around two lakh educational institutions across the country.