New Delhi: The government will take a decision on reopening of schools and colleges on April 14 after reviewing the COVID-19 situation in the country, education minister Ramesh Pokhriyal 'Nishank' told Press Trust of India on Sunday. Educational institutions across the country were closed in the second and third weeks of March to prevent the spread of coronavirus and later the closure was extended due to the subsequent COVID-19 lockdown announced by the government. The Human Resource Development ministry, which looks after the education portfolio, had also postponed various exams which were scheduled in March and April to prevent the spread of coronavirus.
In an interview to PTI, Human Resource Development minister also said the safety of students and teachers is of utmost importance to the government and his ministry is prepared to ensure there is no academic loss to students if schools and colleges needed to remain shut beyond April 14.
"It is difficult to take a decision at the moment. We will review the situation on April 14 and depending upon the circumstances, a decision will be taken on whether schools and colleges can be reopened now or have to be closed for more time," Mr Pokhriyal said when asked about his Ministry's post-lockdown plan.
The ministry and various arms affiliated with the HRD had already asked schools and colleges to go online to finish the academic processes pending in educational institutions.
"There are 34 crore students in the country, more than America's population. They are our biggest
treasure. Safety of students and teachers is of utmost importance to the government," he added.
The 21-day nationwide lockdown announced by the government on the fourth week of March expected to end on April 14 as there have been indications from the government that the lockdown may not be extended.
"The classes are already being conducted online using various government platforms like Swayam. We are prepared to ensure there is no academic loss to students if need arises to keep schools, colleges closed after April 14.
"I am regularly reviewing the plan of action being followed by schools and colleges during the lockdown. A plan is also ready for conducting pending exams and evaluation as soon as the situation improves and the lockdown is lifted," Mr Nishank said.
Meanwhile, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to conduct only the important pending examinations of annual board examinees.
The Board will announce the exam dates for the remaining subjects 10 days in advance, it said in a release.
In a notification released on April 1, the CBSE has said that in the current situation prevailing in the country it is difficult to announce a new schedule for the pending exams. It also said that it will give notice of about 10 days before starting the exams.