CHENNAI: The government has reversed its order allowing students of Class X, XI and XII to visit schools from October 1 on a voluntary basis, but schools and parents say online classes may not be enough to complete portions before boards.
Tuesday’s decision follows feedback from district collectors and medical experts. The ban on functioning of educational institutions has been extended to October 31.
“The government needs to strike a balance between the safety of students and completing lessons for Class XII students,” said N Vijayan, senior principal of Zion Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Tambaram. Reducing syllabus for the board exams will affect those preparing for exams like NEET and JEE which cover the full syllabus. “The government should ask the National Testing Agency (NTA) to reduce the syllabus for entrance tests or allow Class XII students to visit schools with all precautionary measures,” he added.
The school education department had said it would reduce up to 40% syllabus for state board students due to Covid-19, but is yet to release the details. V Shanthi, headmistress of Vidyodaya Girls Higher Secondary School in T Nagar, said the government says only 60% of portions will be there for 2020-21. “If we know what portions are deleted, we will prepare our students with more revisions and students also will know the portions to study.” Online classes have limitations and can help only to an extent, she said.
G J Manohar, principal of MCC Higher Secondary School in Chetpet, said they would again concentrate on online classes. “Students cannot prepare for board exams through online classes alone as many lack access to digital devices and motivation. They should postpone the board exams next year giving more time for schools to prepare students,” he said.
Some schools said only 50% of parents were willing to send their wards to schools. “We conducted an assessment among parents to know how many were willing to send their wards to school if we open for higher classes from October 1. Only 55% answered in the affirmative,” said B Purushothaman, senior principal of Everwin Matriculation Higher Secondary School in Kolathur.
T Nagar resident Viji said she was worried about sending her daughter to school despite precautions. “They are meeting their friends after a long time. They may hang out together and share food. It is not possible to ensure social distancing. There is a risk,” she said.
Others fear the delay in reopening would affect preparations for competitive exams. “Either the government should open schools or should demand that NTA reduce syllabus. Class XII students will suffer in competitive exams if schools don’t complete portions this year,” said Vasumathi, a parent, of Tambaram.
Schools, parents worried about board exam students
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