June 19, 2024, 4:48 pm

Mehedi Hasan

2024-04-29 11:19:32 BdST

Reopening Of Schools Amid HeatwaveStudent attendance half, two teachers die

The first day of educational institutions reopening amid rising heat levels after a one-week closure witnessed attendance plummeting to less than half, alongside the tragic loss of two teachers to heat stroke.

Two teachers – one in Chattogram and another in Jashore – succumbed to heat stroke on Sunday. Earlier, a teacher from Manikganj passed away last Saturday.

Additionally, numerous students fell ill either on their way to school or during class hours due to the sweltering heat.

Despite government directives outlining guidelines to safeguard the health of students, educational institutions are reportedly failing to adhere to these protocols.

Compounding the situation, the Meteorological Department has issued a new three-day heat alert across the country, marking the fourth such alert this month.

Teacher Maulana Mostak Ahmed Qutubi Alkaderi, 55, collapsed while commuting to Chitapchar Azizia Mabudia Alim Madrasa in Chattogram on Sunday and was pronounced dead upon arrival at Chittagong Medical College Hospital.

Similarly, Ahsan Habib, an assistant teacher at Ahmedabad High School in Jashore, passed away after falling ill at school, while Hashina Parveen, the head teacher of Basudebpur 26 No Government Primary School in Manikganj, succumbed to a heat stroke.

Reports also reveal instances of students falling ill in class due to the extreme heat, underscoring the urgent need for proactive measures to protect their well-being.

Although the government has instructed primary schools to commence classes at 8:30 am to mitigate heat exposure, several institutions have reportedly disregarded this directive, prompting calls for the closure of educational institutions.

Moreover, despite the government’s directive to suspend pre-primary classes and close assemblies until temperatures become tolerable, some pre-primary institutions in the capital are allegedly flouting these guidelines.

Parents, concerned about their children’s health, have voiced apprehensions about sending them to school amidst the heatwave. Many have reported observing rashes on their children’s bodies after returning from school, prompting them to consider keeping their children at home until the heat subsides.

However, Professor SM Hafizur Rahman of Dhaka University’s Institute of Education and Research said that comprehensive measures are required to address the challenges posed by the heatwave while ensuring educational continuity.

He suggested redesigning the academic syllabus and adjusting class patterns to accommodate the prevailing weather conditions.

Meanwhile, several prominent school authorities in the capital have mobilised quick response teams comprising doctors and nurses to provide immediate assistance to students suffering from heat-related illnesses. Adequate provisions of water and saline solutions have been made available in each classroom to ensure hydration and mitigate heat-related risks.

At the same time, some institutions have also taken measures to send the homework taught in class to the absent students.

Keka Roy Chowdhury, acting principal of Viqarunnisa Noon School and College, said the proactive measures have been undertaken by their institution to ensure the well-being of students, including the deployment of medical personnel and continuous monitoring of students’ health.

Apart from ensuring health protection of students, fines for absentee students have been waived in schools, she added.

Educational institutes closed in 5 districts

In response to the prevailing heatwave, the Ministry of Education has announced the closure of all educational institutions in five districts of the country for one day, following consultations with the Ministry of Health and the Department of Meteorology.

This decision, confirmed by the ministry’s public relations officer on Sunday evening, applies to secondary schools, colleges, madrasas, and technical educational institutions in Dhaka, Chuadanga, Jashore, Khulna, and Rajshahi districts on 29 April.

While institutions equipped with air conditioning may remain open at the discretion of authorities, further decisions will be announced today.

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