Updated on 28 Jan 2021, 6:56 am
Colleges and schools for classes nine and above reopened in Manipur on Wednesday after more than 10-month closure of normal classes since the COVID-19 pandemic hit the state.
The state government decided on reopening of educational institutions for normal classes to resume as the pandemic situation in the state began to improve.
While both the students and teachers are posed with many challenges in resuming normal classes, they welcomed the government decision and expressed relief.
This is clearly proven by the good number of students turning up for classes and the initiatives taken up by faculties of the institutions.
During an interaction with the Imphal Free Press, Chingtham Rupa, a student of TG Higher Secondary School, said she got admitted in class 11 but never had the opportunity to attend her new school due to the pandemic.
“This is my first day in this school. Due to the pandemic, we did not get the chance to come to school not even for once after getting admission. School is not only a place to receive formal education but one of the best places to make new friends. Therefore, reopening of schools really makes me happy not just for getting education but to mingle with friends,” she said.
Rupa said that with her desire to meet friends, teachers and the eagerness to see the new school, she does not mind travelling all the way from Khongjom, where she lives, to her school, a distance of around 35 km by public transport.
Another student from DM College of Arts, Malemganba Naorem said the decision of the government to reopen schools and colleges in recent cabinet meeting gave him relief.
“I really appreciate the government for reopening the colleges as it has eased my fears and doubts of losing my academic career. I feel that the government has taken the right decision at the right time,” he said.
He further said that the college authority has also taken up all efforts to conduct classes by making sure that not a student is infected by the virus. To make this possible, support and corporation from the students is a must. As such, they should maintain standard of operating procedures without fail, he appealed.
Another student of DM College of Arts, MC Nganthoilembi, said students would be more grateful if the government allows opening of hostels taking into consideration hardship of students from far flung areas to commute.
Appealing to the government to open the hostels in colleges as well, one Nganthoi who hails from Nongpok Sekmai said, “Not all students are from Imphal. Being a student residing in rural areas, and commuting a distance of more than 30 km to reach Imphal, I know how students from hill areas must have felt.”
He said the charges of public transportation like autorickshaw have increased tremendously comparing to the pre COVID times. “I have to spend nearly Rs 400 per day to attend classes. As for today, I somehow manage to come out of curiosity but I do not think I can afford this much thrice a week. We have classes three days a week.”
Interacting with the principal of TG Higher Secondary School, A Sangita Devi said that the school reopened by maintaining all possible precautionary measures so that not a single student gets affected by the virus.
She said that there are around 1,778 students in the school. As the number of student is too high, the classes will be conducted into two shifts i.e. morning (8 am -11am) and evening (12-4 pm). Classes will be conducted on alternate days, she said while adding sections of each classes were divided into sub sections, to maintain physical distancing.
She further said that there are altogether eight sections each as usual (three sections in arts, four sections in science and one section for commerce) in class 11 and 12. But now, it has increased to 24 sections. On the first day of opening the school, around 60 per cent of students turned up to attend classes.
The surrounding premises were cleaned and toilets are being maintained for keeping proper hygiene by providing regular flow of tap water, she said. About the precautionary measures being taken up by the school, Sangita mentioned that masks were distributed to each student, and a non-contact sanitizer dispenser is being installed at the school entrance. COVID-19 awareness programmes are also conducted in association with the Indian Red Cross Society, she added.
Principal of DM College of Arts Chungkham Sheelaramani said unexpectedly, many students came for college on the first day of opening. Of around 3,200 students in the college, 80 per cent of them turned up while all the faculties attended the college as well, she said. The college has made the plan to conduct three-day classes for each semester in a week in alternate days, she added.
“I feel very happy to see good number of students and teachers coming to the college on first day of opening. It shows that students had been missing their classes,” she remarked while adding that the college is being opened by maintaining all possible precautionary measures and SOPs.
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Phurailatpam Keny Devi
IFP Reporter, IMPHAL, Manipur