Unlocking of schools: Centre modifies norms, says states, UTs can decide on consent of parents

The Union Department of Education has changed its guidelines for school disclosure, leaving it to the states and Union Territories to decide whether schools must obtain parental or guardian consent before students can attend in-person classes.

The amended SOP also emphasizes ensuring a smooth transition of students from homeschooling to formal education through the provision of bridging courses and identification of students based on learning levels, introduction of large-scale remedial programs to reduce learning loss and emotional well-being of students and teachers.

“The decision as to whether or not parental consent is required for the students to attend physical classes is at the discretion of the respective states and UT governments,” states the amended Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) for School Re-opening, uploaded by the Ministry of Education on its portal on Wednesday.

The previous set of guidelines issued on October 5, 2020 required states and UTs to adopt parental or guardian consent. “Attendance should not be enforced and should be completely dependent on parental consent,” reads the clause in the SOP that has now been amended.

An official pointed out that the resurgence of Covid cases shortly after the amended SOP was enacted on December 17 forced authorities across the country to suspend classroom lectures again.

“As schools reopen in all states, the SOP is spreading again. It also takes into account people’s comprehensive vaccination coverage, including teaching and non-teaching staff,” the official said.

With the dip in Covid cases, states that have so far allowed resumption of personal classes include Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Tripura, Haryana, Telangana, Pune and Nagpur in Maharashtra and Rajasthan.

Sajal Jain
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The Bihar Engineering