Universities are planning on restarting in-person classes for master’s and honours final year students first
Public and private universities in the country are planning to resume in-person classes in February as the government is soon likely to ask universities to prepare for this.
They are contemplating holding regular classes for master's and honours final year students, while classes for other years and semesters would restart gradually.
Professor Akhtaruzzaman, vice-chancellor of Dhaka University, told The Business Standard (TBS) that they have already asked the authorities concerned to prepare to open the university halls.
"Our provosts of different halls have completed a survey on how many students of master's and honours final year are residing in the halls. We will hold a meeting on Monday," he said.
When asked about the reopening date, he said, "We are planning to resume in-person classes from February if the pandemic situation improves and the government gives its permission."
Both public and private universities are holding classes and exams through online platforms. But they are reluctant to hold admission tests online as they have no capacity to check irregularities during the tests.
There are now about 40 lakh students in 46 public and 106 private universities.
Professor Atiqul Islam, vice-chancellor of North South University, told TBS that his university has the largest number of students. It will be tough to resume in-person classes maintaining strict health guidelines.
"We are ready to reopen the university responding to the government's order. It will be difficult for us; nevertheless, we must manage and cope with any situation," he said.
"It will not be possible to hold classes like before. We will definitely select some students for regular in-person classes, and online classes will continue for those who want to," he said.
The students, especially those of public universities, have long been demanding that their dorms reopen as they cannot stay outside.
Education experts also say online classes cannot be the alternative to in-person classes.
Professor Omar Faruk, director general of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education, told TBS that the education ministry has yet to receive a directive from the government's high-ups to issue a notice to reopen the universities, but it would be good if the universities prepared for this.
All educational institutions have been closed since mid-March 2020 because of the pandemic, considering students' safety. The government has extended the shutdown 13 times until 30 January.
Since then, classes have remained suspended even though administrative activities have resumed gradually.
Earlier, the government also decided not to hold Primary School Completion (PSC), Junior School Certificate (JSC) as well as Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) and equivalent exams this year.
The PSC and JSC examinees will get automatic promotion to the next class, while HSC students will be assessed based on their JSC and SSC results. All students will also be promoted automatically from primary to secondary level.