Reopening schools in TN: Why Tamil Nadu is observing Puducherry and what we can expect?

Amid the demands from the federation of the association of private schools to reopen the schools in Tamil Nadu, the state government has planned to observe how the school resumption is going to work out in the neighbouring Union territory of Puducherry before taking a final call to reopen the schools in the state. Puducherry has announced that it will reopen the schools for Classes 9 to 12 on July 16. 

Tamil Nadu School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi has on Tuesday said that the state government is closely observing neighbouring Puducherry reopen schools. On the front of why Tamil Nadu is observing Puducherry in reopening the schools, it has been reported that the measures and parameters taken by the schools in Puducherry will be monitored and analyzed by Tamil Nadu to take a call on implementing those measures to reopen the schools in Tamil Nadu. 

Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi said that a report would be submitted to Chief Minister MK Stalin on the measures taken for school reopening in Puducherry. He was addressing the reporters in Trichy and he further said, "A meeting was conducted after being informed about schools are reopening in Puducherry from July 16 for Classes 9 to 12. We can reopen the schools if Covid-19 comes under control and parents should feel comfortable in sending their children to the schools. It will take some time."

On the demand of enrolment in the government schools, the minister has said that more than 3.40 lakh students from government-aided and private schools had enrolled in the government schools till last week. He cited that the government has to retain the students who joined the government schools and infrastructure and staff strength will be improved. He added that the teachers in government schools offering English medium curriculum will be trained. 

According to reports, the Tamil Nadu government will convene a meeting on July 16 to discuss with the stakeholders including health experts before taking a final call on whether or not to reopen the schools in Tamil Nadu. While there are predictions about the third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic, the reports suggest that the schools in the state may be reopened from the first week of August for the secondary and higher secondary classes. 

On Monday, the Federation of Association of Private Schools in Tamil Nadu has urged the state government to reopen the schools. The federation has also placed a slew of demands on the state government concerning the private schools and their operations. Besides demanding the government to reopen the schools, the federation has also demanded the government to permit them to receive full term fees from the students. The federation has also requested the government not to permit the students to enrol in other schools without transfer certification. 

Secretary of Federation DC Elangovan said, "We have requested the Tamil Nadu government to reopen schools. The schools have been conducting online classes. However, there is only 20% reach, and online classes haven't reached well for children in rural areas. Hence, the only effective way is proper classroom education." The members of the federation had met Tamil Nadu School Education Minister Anbil Mahesh Poyyamozhi at the Secretariat and placed their demands.

Addressing further, Elangovan stated that the minister has said he will take necessary steps to reopen schools for at least Classes 10, 11, and 12. "We have assured that we are ready to take classes based on a shift basis", Elangovan added. The students are bracing up the new normal and settled down for virtual learning as the schools are conducting online classes for them. The state government has recently declared students from Class 1 to 8 all pass and it also has cancelled the board exams for the secondary and higher secondary classes in light of the pandemic. On the other hand, the colleges and universities are majorly closed and recently, the state government has announced that colleges and varsities can begin the admission process from August 1, 2021.