The Ministry of Education has invited the community to participate in determining an appropriate educational alternative for the academic year 2020-21.
In a statement, MoE said, ‘The ministry invites the society to participate in determining the appropriate educational alternative from among the alternatives that are identified by the ministry by filling out a questionnaire.’
‘The aim is to enhance the level of readiness for the academic year 2020-21 and to achieve effective community participation as a partner in the education process by filling out the questionnaire on the link: http://istmarah.moe.gov.om/app/form?id=26,’ it said.
Earlier, H E Dr Madiha bint Ahmed bin Nassir al Shaibaniyah, Minister of Education, said, that the start of the school academic year is usually at the end of August. “We are studying alternatives in this aspect, which will be based on the report of the technical team. The date for the resumption of study in the next academic year will be determined according to the epidemiological situation in coordination with the Ministry of Health,” she said.
Some of the topics covered in the survey include reducing student density and taking the necessary health precautions as well as concern about the health status of children when they go to school. The questionnaire also looks into the possibility of providing good e-learning applications that help overcome network vulnerability as well as seeking the public’s opinion on what classes should attend school to lower student density in schools.
In his press statement recently, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director general of World Health Organization (WHO), also called for coherent, data-driven strategies that avoid the need to constantly switch from lockdown to reopening, and control the spread of the virus.
Ghebreyesus warned that there will be “no return to the ‘old normal’ for the foreseeable future”, but that it is possible for countries to suppress the pandemic, allowing people to get on with their lives, as long as governments focus on reducing mortality and transmission, empower communities to take appropriate action, and show leadership.
Dr Michael Ryan, executive director of the WHO Health Emergencies Programme, said that the topic of school reopenings has become a ‘political football’, which is not fair on children. “Decisions must be made on data, and an understanding of the risks. There needs to be a sustained commitment on suppressing the virus. If we can suppress it, then, schools can open safely.”
As there is no clue when the virus is going to diminish, parents say they do not want to risk their children’s health by sending them back to school but that there would be no choice, if it so happens.
“I would not want to expose my children to the risk, but if it so happens, I absolutely have no choice. And the idea of learning from home is never a good one because kids get too distracted learning from home,” Saleh Hamad, a father of five school-going children, said.
Asila al Naamani, another parent of three children, said, “I would rather actually keep them home than to send them back right now because the virus is still spreading. Nothing has happened to limit people being sick and there hasn’t been a cure for COVID-19. If few children contract COVID-19, then it’s a community problem because it will spread like fire. Lets see what happens.” she said.
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