Ashok Gehlot-led Congress government in Rajasthan on Friday night formed a five-member ministerial committee to decide on the reopening date for educational institutions and to formulate SOPs for them.
After making the announcement of the reopening of schools from August 02, 2021, the Rajasthan government has put the decision on hold for now.
The newly formed ministerial committee will comprise of Agriculture minister Lalchand Kataria, Health Minister Dr Raghu Sharma, state Minister for Education Govind Singh Dotasara, state Minister for Higher Education Bhanwar Singh Bhati, and state minister for Health and Technical Education Dr Subhash Garg.
The Rajasthan government had announced all schools and other educational institutions in the state will reopen from August 2 amid an improvement in the overall situation of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. The decision was taken in a state cabinet meeting chaired by chief minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday. However, following the criticism by parents’ associations as well as the social groups on social media, over the safety of the children, the government has backtracked its decision in view of the current pandemic situation.
As per the new order of the Rajasthan government, the Committee of Ministers will contact the Ministries of Health and Human Resources, Government of India, and ICMR with states that have already decided to reopen the schools. They would discuss the situation there, receive feedback and only then take a call and issue an SOP. The decision will have an impact on 1.7 crore students across the state.
Stating that children's safety and education is the priority of the Rajasthan government, Education Minister Govind Dotasra on Saturday said the date of reopening the school will be taken after the committee's meeting. Dotasara tweeted, " To form the SOPs for the reopening of schools a committee has been formed which will discuss on all parameters. After discussing all the points chief minister Ashok Gehlot will take a final decision on the dates of reopening of schools. The safety and education of children are on our top priority".
Reacting to the government's decision, Abhishek Jain Bittu, President of Rajasthan Sayukt Abhivavak Sangh, a body comprising parents of private and government school children, said, "Before reopening the schools, the government should clearly come up with an SOP and guidelines for schools as well as the children. The education, as well as their safety, is a must".
Rajasthan has so far recorded 953,495 Covid-19 cases and 8,952 deaths due to the disease. Authorities have so far administered 3,00,82,297 vaccine doses to people of which 2,38,64,010 have received the first dose while the remaining 62,18,287 have received the second dose as well. As per the Rajasthan health department, at the moment, the state is in the fourth position in the country in vaccination.