The Education Ministry is focussing on keeping schools open all seven days of the week to catch up with the lost opportunities in education in the aftermath of the Covid 19 pandemic, Education Minister Dulles Alahapperuma said yesterday.
Minister Alahapperuma added however that teachers or students must not attend classes on all seven days as classes would be conducted in small groups.
“We are contemplating a system where it is sufficient if teachers and students attend school only four days a week and teaching in classes can be arranged in a pre-planned mechanism with the final target of completing the syllabus. In the new system, it is required to rearrange a class with over 30 students into a minimum of two groups to prevent large concentration of students,” Minister Alahapperuma stressed.
Minister Alahapperuma said there are 1,486 schools with less than 50 students, 1,560 schools with less than 100 students, 1,138 schools with less than150 students, 977 schools with less than 200 students, 2,690 schools with less than 500 students and 1,375 schools with less than 1,000 students and added it won’t be a big task to run these schools under the new system.
“It will not be easy for about 868 schools with over 1,000 students to adapt to the new mechanism but we have to do it because our top priority is the safety and welfare of nearly 4.5 million students and approximately 300,000 teachers,” Minister Alahapperuma emphasized.
Before the formal opening of schools after the country returns to normalcy with curfew lifted island wide, all 10,194 schools will be disinfected before the non academic staff, teachers and the Principal come to the school and make preliminary arrangements to open the school. After the schools are fully safe and ready to start academic activities, classes will be conducted for GCE A/L students, then GCE O/L students and finally for junior classes, Minister Alahapperuma told the Daily Mirror.
Minister Alahapperuma said school intervals will also be given on a staggered basis at different times for primary junior and senior students to prevent a large convergence of students in the school premises.
“The national school system has lost a total of 276 school hours by yesterday due to the curfew imposed since March 20. We must find a solution to the issue on how to replenish lost lessons and complete the syllabus. There are some lessons in the subjects of science and math for GCE O/L and A/L students we cannot leave out under any circumstances,” he added.
Minister Alahapperuma said a team of top officials of the Education Ministry led by Secretary L.H.M.Chitrananda were having an interaction with provincial education authorities this week to get their ideas on the reopening of schools.(Sandun A Jayasekera)