Unlock 4: States gear to open up as centre nods

As states prepare to normalise life, the Centre has given a green flag to resumption of normalcy. The question is, if now is the right time?

India Unlock 4.0

The government announced its decision to implement the Unlock 4 from September 1, 2020. As part of the same, Metro services will be allowed to resume in a graded manner.

Added to that, all social, economic, sports, entertainment, cultural, religious, and political functions and other congregations will be permitted with a cap of 100 people, increased from the earlier 50 cap, from September 21.

The opening of open-air theatres will also be permitted from the third week of September. Schools and colleges may still not be functional, but states and union territories have been given the choice to permit 50% teaching and non-teaching staff to work in schools. All restrictions on inter-state movement will also be scrapped.

Delhi CM Arvind Kejriwal has been advocating the Unlock for economical and functional reasons, with a plan to open shops alternately in a market.

In Karnataka, Deputy Chief Minister Dr. Aswath Narayan C.N.  announced the government’s plan to reopen the doors of colleges for students on October 1, 2020. The academic session of 2020-21 for degree courses will start from September and resume offline from October 1, but the state government was waiting for the Centre’s guidelines before taking any decision.

With the increasing cases of COVID-19, the government announced the nationwide lockdown so that the cases get reduced.  Prior to this, a month ago, the Central government gave relaxations to non-containment zones but didn’t allow the educational institutions to reopen.  Aswath demonstrated that the UGC (Union Grant Commission) has also approved the guidelines and ensured that there is uniformity across the country and to facilitate the starting of online classes without loss to the academic year of the children.  Regarding primary, secondary, and senior secondary schools the primary and secondary education, State Education Minister S Suresh Kumar said that the state government will wait for the Union government’s guidelines and will work accordingly. Aswath added that he has made comprehensive preparations for starting classes as per the guidelines issued by the UGC and state government will follow additional directions from the central government to ensure the safety of students, but will wait for the Centre’s roadmap in this regard.  The state government commended that final year examinations will be scheduled for all undergraduate, diploma, and engineering students once the academic year starts moreover students are expected to attend all the offline classes and the backlog exams would also be conducted. The facilities and system have been geared up to start the classes plus we need to engage academically for the students good, for their future. We can’t afford to lose any more time stated deputy CM Aswath Narayan CN. Narayan oversees that JEE ( Joint Entrance Exam) and NEET ( National Eligibility Entrance Test) should be conducted as per the schedule in September 2020. Karnataka government has already held main exams including CET entrance exams for professional colleges, the 10th standard SSLC (Senior Secondary Leaving Certificate) exam by over 8 lakh students still pre-university English exams had been pending till now due to the imposition of lockdown. These decisions have been made in the sole interest of the students to ensure their bright future. For more than a month the schools and colleges have been shut due to the increasing cases of Corona Virus the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) is expected to make a decision on the reopening of schools and colleges under unlock 4.0 guidelines.  Unlock 4.0 guidelines are being prepared and a final decision is being expected soon. However, there are some reports which say that educational institutes might reopen in a phased manner to ensure maximum safety of students so that all sections of students can take classes equally.

In my opinion, I don’t think it is a wise decision to reopen colleges because no matter how much we follow the guidelines or social distancing or any precautionary measures still we are at a higher chance of getting the virus. For appearing in NEET and JEE exams, students are facing problems regarding hygienic issues that students were not maintaining social distancing and the schools which they were allotted may be unclean with a low hygienic situation. As the cases are increasing rapidly day by day exams should be postponed at least till November. The state government is already waiting for the central government response but they should also think thrice while taking this decision that it won’t be easy for each and every student to attend offline classes maybe because of traveling, mild severe cases around their houses or any issue which they are facing should be considered and think for the students’ sake.        

By Aakriti Tapraniya & Gauri Joshi

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