Tamanna Tamang|Oct 20, 2021
- Child rights body urges LG to allow reopening of anganwadis, schools for junior classes
Child rights body urges LG to allow reopening of anganwadis, schools for junior classes
Anurag Kundu, DCPCR chairman, has also uggested that classes Nursery to 8 can open at least two days a week and Anganwadis can open at least once a week.
NEW DELHI: The Delhi Commission For Protection of Child Rights chairman Anurag Kundu has written to LG Anil Baijal and urged him to issue necessary directions to reopen schools and anganwadis, citing learning loss and limitations of online education. Kundu has also suggested that classes Nursery to 8 can open at least two days a week and Anganwadis can open at least once a week in a staggered way in the wake of the improvement in the COVID-19 situation.
In the letter, he has also suggested random testing of students, school and anganwadi staff to ensure that even if there is any infection spread, it can be contained. Following a marked improvement in the COVID-19 situation in the national capital, the Delhi government had announced that schools for classes 9 to 12, colleges and coaching institutions would reopen from September 1.
The Delhi government had clarified that no student would be forced to attend physical classes and the consent of parents would be mandatory. A decision regarding the reopening of schools for classes 6 to 8 in Delhi will be taken after the festival season, Baijal had said last month following a Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) meeting here. Baijal is the chairman of the DDMA.
Noting that the closure of schools is affecting nearly four million children in Delhi, Kundu said that the Covid infection spread has shown a remarkable decline and the cases have remained constantly under 40 for the past six weeks and most of the days have witnessed zero fatality in the past six weeks. He also said that nearly all sectors have opened up.
Delhi School Reopening
“Clearly children not attending schools cannot keep them safe since the adults are moving about and returning home. As it is, children are visible everywhere in public places. There appears to be little evidence about how school closures can benefit the children when all other sectors are open.
"It, therefore, remains unclear as to what extra vulnerability would children experience by coming to school or how they remain safer by not attending it,” the letter read. He also cited data to state that almost 90 percent of infections in children so far were mild or asymptomatic. The Indian Council of Medical Research ( ICMR ), the body of our country in the field of biomedical research too has recommended the opening of the schools. School closure is proving to be harmful for children, he said, adding that the pandemic has caused serious learning losses for children of all grades.
“For example, 17 percent more grade I students could not read letters in 2020-21 compared to 2019-20, according to the Annual Status of Education Report 2021 by Pratham Education Foundation,” he said. He also said that online education “severely cripples teachers ' ability to teach and children's ability to learn”.
He also said that school closure has been having an adverse impact on the social, physical and mental health of children. Kundu cited examples of states like Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab where schools have reopened to highlight his request. He said that routine immunisation of children and their growth monitoring has been a compromised function owing to the closure of anganwadis.
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