COVID-19 And Schools, Colleges Closures In Year 2020

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Major universities including Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia, IGNOU are expected to open for physical classes in 2021. While state universities that have started physical classes for selected practical courses have announced to hold physical sessions for other courses as well.

New Delhi: Major universities including Delhi University, Jamia Millia Islamia, IGNOU are expected to open for physical classes in 2021. While state universities that have started physical classes for selected practical courses have announced to hold physical sessions for other courses as well. On the other hand, in the wake of upcoming board examinations, some states have allowed school administration to conduct classes. States including Bihar, Odisha, Delhi, Karnataka, Puducherry, Assam and Pune will resume physical classes in schools from January 2021 onward.
States’ Decision On Reopening Colleges And Universities
The Union Government announced on April 28 that colleges and universities will remain shut beyond May 3, 2020. The Karnataka’s Deputy Chief Minister Dr Aswath Narayan said that colleges will resume physical classes from October, however, due to rising COVID-19 cases only the degree and engineering courses resumed. The pre-university colleges in Karnataka will reopen from January onward along with Kerala, Assam, Madhya Pradesh colleges. The Delhi University (DU) has also allowed colleges to reopen from January 2021.

On November 5, the Universities Grants Commission (UGC) issued unlock guidelines to reopen colleges. Soon after, Punjab and Haryana reopened universities from November 16, and Uttar Pradesh and Gujarat reopened universities from November 23. AICTE allowed engineering colleges to reopen from December 1.

Among the central universities, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) opened in four phases allowing the students science practical courses to join first and finally Science PhD students under Persons With Disability (PwD) category.

States’ Decision On Reopening Schools
States including Odisha, Karnataka and Delhi will resume schools in 2021. The central government had allowed states to reopen schools partially in September and fully in October. Most states have either staggered the reopening by allowing only senior classes or chosen to shut down for the rest of 2020. States including Haryana and Jharkhand reopened their schools partially from September 21.

In its Unlock 5 guidelines, the Centre allowed states and the union territories to decide on reopening educational institutions from Class 9 onwards. The Health Ministry also issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

Five States Shut Down Colleges And Schools Before Lockdown
States began closing down colleges and schools in March as the COVID-19 cases surged with Delhi becoming the first state to shut down schools and colleges on March 5, Kerala on March 10, Manipur on March 12, Tamil Nadu on March 17, and Uttar Pradesh on March 13. Soon after, on March 24, the Centre ordered to shut down all the educational institutions across the country as part of the nationwide lockdown.

Online Classes In Schools And Colleges
The colleges and universities started operating through online lectures for students by April.

IIT madras launched its online cybersecurity course on April 8. The Uttarakhand government directed all the institutes and colleges to begin online classes from April 21. On May 21, the government informed that students enrolled in universities may undertake SWAYAM courses and avail credits by completing these courses.

On June 1, as many as 100 universities were allowed to launch online courses as part of the Pradhan Mantri e-Vidya programme. By July 20 institutions including IIM Sambalpur started online classes for the second year while IIT Gandhinagar announced to start the semester in the online mode by June 8. Karnataka began online university classes from September 1.

While online classes brought various tensions for students, even the experts seemed to be less in favour of the same. Former ISRO Chief K Kasturirangan said, “I am not an enthusiast about online teaching. We need a human interface with students for good communication. That is how young minds can be inspired”.

Online classes for schools were started earlier than colleges with Delhi announcing them in March, soon after the lockdown. Karnataka issued its own guidelines for online classes before the Union government announced Pragyata guidelines for all the schools.

Promotions And End-Semester Examinations
Around 560 universities across the country planned to conduct end-semester exams in July as per the UGC guidelines. This was met with severe backlash from students online who had trend #StudentLivesMatter.

Delhi University (DU) conducted open-book semester-end examinations from July 1 in spite of over 90% of the students voting against it. Though, the first semester exams for session 2020-23 which started on December 20 were conducted in a blended form allowing students to attempt the papers online and physically both to ensure social distancing inside the examination halls.

COVID-19 lockdown in March disrupted Classes 10 and 12 final examinations. Class 10 students were promoted on the basis of online assignments while remaining exams for Class 12 were held in June.


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