Chandigarh, August 1, 2021 (Yes Punjab News)
The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) Punjab has appealed to the Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh to clarify the situation over the concerns raised on the decision to reopen all government and private schools in the state.
In a statement issued from the party headquarters, Leader of Opposition (LoP) Harpal Singh Cheema asked the state government that on the basis of which report of doctors and education experts; such a big decision had been taken. Cheema said this was a decision related to the lives of 60.5 lakh children, who constitute 20 percent of the total population of the state and also the future of Punjab.
Cheema said in order to allay the worries and anxieties of lakhs of parents, Chief Minister Captain Amarinder Singh, School Education Minister Vijay Inder Singla, Health Minister Balbir Singh Sidhu along with ruling Congress president Navjot Singh Sidhu, should make it clear that the state was completely free from the outbreak of Covid. “Is Punjab now completely safe from the threat of Delta variants, including the second and most talked about third wave of the Covid? Shouldn’t parents and teachers be concerned about the new Covid cases that have been on the rise across the country for the past three or four days?” he questioned.
“Are all the technical, medical and especially physical distance related arrangements of 6 feet as per Covid Prevention guidelines ensured in all 19,500 government and 9,500 private schools before their opening?” asked Cheema.
He further questioned whether the government, in particular the Department of Education and Health has assured that all 22.08 lakh students in government schools and about 38 lakh students in private schools have full provision of masks by parents or government and no student will enter the school without masks.
The LoP said if the government had taken this sudden decision to open the schools without any pressure and by thoroughly examining the potential dangers including ground reports of medical, education and technical experts; then the Aam Aadmi Party has no objection to the government’s decision and neither the parents nor the people of Punjab should have.
“Provided that the Chief Minister, Health Minister and Education Minister take clear responsibility for these concerns and guarantee that every child who goes to school will be completely protected from the second and possibly third wave of Covid along with the Delta infection,” he added.
Harpal Singh Cheema said, “Like everyone, we also pray for complete deliverance from the wrath and fear of Covid. We want the children to go to schools as before, as there has been a worrying stagnation in the physical and mental development of the children who have been locked up at home for a year and a half. The education of children, especially from ordinary and poor families, has been severely damaged, but nothing is more than their precious lives. Our concern is with the ground realities and the latest national and international news about the Covid Delta.”
Referring to the data of ground realities, Cheema said lack of classrooms, benches, transport and other facilities along with the proportion of childcare teachers for 60.5 lakh students in government and all private schools; raises serious concerns about child safety. He said while there are 1, 16,442 teachers for 22.08 lakh students in government schools; there are about 1,60,000 teachers for 38 lakh students in private schools.
Cheema further said although the student-teacher ratio in government schools seems to be better than that of private schools; but due to bribery and political interference in government schools, there is one or two teachers for every 400 children in a school (there are dozens of such examples in border and remote rural areas). On the other hand, good cities and surrounding schools have more teachers than students, he added. Cheema said it was because of such ground realities that they (Aam Aadmi Party) were seeking clarification from the Punjab Chief Minister on a major decision.