The West Bengal chapter of the Student Federation of India (SFI) today lashed out at the state government for what they alleged was a lack of planning before “randomly announcing reopening of educational institutions in
the wake of a covid spurt”.
The SFI demanded that the state government introduce a financial stimulus package for the education sector and carry out vaccination for students who are in the fifth or sixth standard.
Addressing a Press conference, SFI WB secretary Srijan Bhattacharya today criticized the move of the chief minister Mamata Banerjee to informally announce a decision of reopening schools from 16 November.
“Generally such vital decisions are made in administrative meetings inside the office with proper planning but here our chief minister decided to make a random announcement during her North Bengal tour while the education minister (Bratya Basu) is preoccupied with affairs in Tripura than with his department in Bengal.
The SFI has been demanding since last year the reopening of schools and colleges. However, the state government paid no heed to the pleas despite getting a suitable period for reopening after the first wave was over. Even after the second wave had subsided, the government allowed restaurants/bars, entertainment venues etc. to reopen but not educational institutions” said Bhattacharya.
“Just as the Covid numbers are again witnessing a spurt due to the government’s irresponsible action during Durga Puja, the CM decides to casually announce reopening of educational institutions without even issuing an official notification without which there is no meaning to her announcement.
We demand that the state government issue official notification for campus reopening. Importantly, it must ensure that students get free masks and sanitisers in their schools and colleges” he emphasized and warned that without safety measures during this covid spurt, the government will only be “deliberately again pushing the education sector towards a limbo.”
Further, Bhattacharya said that the state government needs to immediately allocate a stimulus package for the education sector and ensure the restart of mid-day meals in schools. He alleged that the state government saved Rs 700- 800 crores after mid-day meals for students were stopped while ICDS and Anganwadi centres were closed down, and this money was used by the government for gaining votes through false schemes announced to earn political mileage.
The SFI demanded that the state government bring back a large number of students from unprivileged and poor backgrounds who dropped out of schools as they could not afford the online mode of education.
SFI demanded that the state govt must begin vaccination for students who are a minimum of 12 years old while making Covid safety arrangements not just in schools and colleges but also in the hostels.