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Assam ready to reopen school from Sep 1, says state minister

The Assam government is getting ready to reopen educational institutions in the state from September 1 but this would depend on the Union Home Ministry's decision, state education and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

Talking to the media, he said that all teachers and employees of the schools would compulsorily have to get themselves tested for Covid-19 between August 21 and 30.

"Those teachers and employees testing negative for coronavirus must attend their place of postings from September 1 onwards, otherwise they would be treated as 'on leave without pay'," he said.

Sarma said that the state government had already prepared the SOPs (Standard Operating Procedures) for educational institutions and these would be circulated, once the Centre's decision was received.

The minister earlier said that after the reopening of the educational institutions, classes would be held in a pre-scheduled routine in open spaces, including the playground, and courtyard of the school for students of Classes 5 to 8.

Students in Classes 9 and 11 would attend classes in their classrooms for twice a week while those in Classes 10 and 12 would attend classes for four days a week. Around 15 students would be allowed to be present in the class at a time.

Schools would remain shut for students up to Class 4 until September end, he had added.

Teaching in colleges would be held only for the students of final semesters while for the post-graduate students, the universities concerned would take the decision, Sarma said.

He also said that in view of the Covid-19 pandemic and to ease the burden of the students, the Secondary Education Board of Assam and the Assam Higher Secondary Education Council have been asked to consider either reducing the syllabus or providing maximum options in the question paper.

Educational institutions in Assam, along with other states, have been closed since mid-March following the outbreak of coronavirus.

The Education Minister on Tuesday said that the Assam government has decided to constitute a 40-member committee to suggest ways and means to implement the New Education Policy announced by the Centre. This committee would have several subgroups. The state is expecting to be ready with a blueprint by January after the committee submits its report by December.

Sarma said that to encourage girls' education, the government has decided to provide scooty (two-wheeler) to 22,000 girl students who secured first division in the recently announced Higher Secondary Examinations results. "The government would spend Rs 50,000 to 55,000 for each scooty," he added..