Academic activities in around 4,000 primary and high schools, colleges and madrasas in northern and northeastern districts of the country have been severely affected by monsoon flooding that began earlier this month.
Many schools have had to be shut down due to dwindling attendance of students who had taken refuge in flood shelters along with their family members.
Books and other instruments have been lost or damaged while mid-term exams have been postponed.
The number of affected education institutions is increasing across the country as new areas become flooded every day. However, government officials said that in some areas, the floodwater has already started going down.
Mahbub Elahi, the deputy director of Rangpur division office of the Directorate of Primary Education, said a total 1,946 primary schools had been shut down across the division while 1,359 schools had been closed due to flooded classrooms. A further 587 schools were being used as shelters.
“Three schools have been swallowed by the river while some infrastructure and educational goods were saved,” he said.
“In cases of swallowed schools, new schools will be built on government land with the governmental allocation, and educational activities would be started soon. If there is no land, then we would ask local people for land for establishing educational institutes.”
At least 3,000 primary schools have been affected by the flood in Joypurhat, Gaibandha, Bogra, Kurigram, Panchagarh, Nilphamari, Rangpur, Lalmonirhat, Thakurgaon, Dinajpur, Rajshahi, Naogaon, Jamalpur, Tangail, Sirajganj, Sherpur, Sunamganj, Sylhet, Netrokona, Faridpur, Rajbari, Shariatpur and Manikganj.
Deputy Director of Rangpur divisional Directorate of Primary Education Abul Khayer said school teachers were hopeful the children could make up time lost to the flooding.
“They will pay extra concentration in classrooms to minimise the loss after the situation is improved so that they can do well in completion and annual exams,” he said.
In Rajshahi division, academic activities have been suspended in around 131 schools in Sirajganj, 120 in Naogaon, 76 in Bogra, 19 in Pabna and three in Joypurhat. Eight schools in Sirajganj, two in Pabna and one in Naogaon were swallowed by the river, the sources said.
According to sources at the Rajshahi divisional office of the Directorate of Primary Education, educational activities have been interrupted in 564 schools from a total of 8,840. Classes have been suspended in 426 schools while 11 schools have been swallowed by the river. Sixty schools are being used as flood shelters.
Primary Education Director Md Abdur Rouf (Planning and Development) told the Dhaka Tribune that they had been collecting field level information on flood affected schools but the total amount of losses and damages have yet to be determined.
“Floodwater has entered the classrooms and in many cases, the buildings have been badly damaged. We will get an overall idea of the damage after the water has receded,” he said.
According to Rajshahi divisional office of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, 138 schools and madrasas have been affected by the flood. Among them 87 institutions are in Sirajganj, 24 in Naogaon, 11 in Joypurhat, 11 in Bogra and five in Pabna.
In Sylhet division, 33 educational institutes have been affected in Sunamganj district while academic activities in eight schools and madrasas have been interrupted, source said.
Around 750 primary schools in the division have been affected by the flood while academic activities of some 321 schools were suspended. In Sunamganj, 567 primary schools were affected while classes and exams were suspended in 302 schools, the sources said.
Prof Md Elias Hossain, director (secondary) of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education, told the Dhaka Tribune: “According to our primary report, around a thousand secondary schools, colleges and madrasas have been flooded.”
Meanwhile, National University authorities have suspended degree pass and certificate examinations of the students of 2015 (old syllabus) scheduled for Wednesday and yesterday because of the ongoing floods.
A press release signed by the National University acting examination controller Badruzzaman said that they suspended philosophy fourth part exam for August 16 (Wednesday) and geography fourth part exam for August 17 (yesterday) due to the deteriorating situation.
“The new schedule of the suspended examination will be announced later,” the press release added.
On July 15, the examination began with the participation of 267,000 students of 1,600 colleges across the country.
Candidates of Primary Education Completion Examinations and Junior School Certificate Examinations are the worst sufferers as the exams are scheduled in November.
But the academic lives of many students have become uncertain as many schools have been left severely ravaged or entirely swallowed by the river.
Government officials said steps will be taken to restore academic activities in educational institutions after the flood water is totally gone.