All teachers and staff will be given the Covid-19 vaccine before the educational institutions reopen
The government plans to arrive at a decision on Wednesday or Thursday on reopening all schools and colleges in Bangladesh, Deputy Minister for Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel has said.
An inter-ministerial meeting will be held to reach a decision, he said on Tuesday.
"We will take the decision following the prime minister's directive. The prime minister has directed that educational institutions be reopened as soon as possible, " he added.
However, the deputy minister also mentioned that all teachers and staff would be given the Covid-19 vaccine before the educational institutions reopened.
This follows the government's announcement on Monday on the reopening of all universities across the country on May 24.
Educational institutions - schools, colleges and universities - have been closed since March last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, aimed at curbing the transmission of the highly contagious disease.
In the face of growing demand, the government gave the Qawmi madrasas permission to reopen in August last year.
On January 30 this year, Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said the government would monitor the Covid-19 situation during the month of February before reaching a decision on a reopening of educational institutions.
She also ordered the authorities concerned to ensure that everyone at all educational institutions got the vaccine as soon as possible.
"Everyone related to schools, colleges and universities must get the vaccine. If everyone follows through, we will be able to keep the [Covid-19] situation under control a little bit more,” she further added.
Bangladesh started nationwide vaccination for Covid-19 on February 7, and so far more than two million people have been vaccinated.
On February 10, Education Minister Dr Dipu Moni said educational institutions would not reopen even in March if health risks posed by the coronavirus pandemic continued.
"A reopening of educational institutions will depend on the real situation. We are trying to do whatever we can,” she said at the inauguration of the “Safe back to school” campaign, launched by several NGOs.
A day later, the National Committee for the Protection of Kindergartens and Equivalent Schools demanded the reopening of educational institutions on February 15.
The Member Secretary of the committee, GM Jahangir Kabir Rana, in a written statement, said due to the Covid-19 pandemic, educational institutions had been closed for 11 months, leading to about one million teachers and staff not being paid their salaries and deprived of other facilities.
Unable to cope with the financial pressure, many educational institutions had closed down, he added.
On Monday, after several days of protests by students of a number of public universities across the country, the government decided to reopen all universities on May 24, and the residential halls of the universities a week before.