– Reshma Ravishanker
Even as some parts of the country are bracing for the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, several parents’ surveys have revealed that a large section of parents want their children back in offline school. In Karnataka, an online study released on March 18 conducted by a group of teachers under the umbrella of Makkala Nade Shaleya Kade, found that a majority of parents wanted their child back in school. While 80 percent of respondents in urban Karnataka wanted schools to be reopened, in rural areas it was 85 percent.
According to Dr Niranjanaradhya V P, a fellow and Programme Head – Universalisation of Education at National Law School of India University, Bangalore, 80 percent of parent respondents were hoping that primary schools would reopen and midday meals services would for students.
“Out of the total population in Karnataka 37 percent are children. The mortality rates due to COVID-19 have been very low among children. In the category 0-10 years, mortality rate is 0.5 percent while it is 0.11 percent in 10-20 years. The objective of parents survey was have a referendum so that the voice of the primary stakeholder is heard,” he said.
Another parents survey by an online platform LocalCircles gathered responses from 16,000 respondents across 24 states in the country. It found that 67 percent parents were in favor of reopening of schools in the next 60 days. The report was released on February 9. “Out of the 8,524 who responded to the question on reopening of schools, 14 percent said “schools are already open for my children or grandchildren and they are going”, while 17 percent said “schools are already open but they are doing an online class and 32 percent said that schools must be reopened by June or July,” says the report.
Nagasimha G, a child rights expert from Child Rights Trust, says that their NGO has received at least 300 e-mails from parents demanding reopening of schools. “They have written to us, asking to give representations that schools must be opened. Some parents have also said that they would shoulder the responsibility of ensuring that the child takes all precautionary measures such as wearing a mask,” he says adding that parents also believe that attending school would keep their child safe while they are at work.
Barring some states such as Maharashtra, students between classes 9 and 12 have started attending school in most states, while primary classes are yet to commence.
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