Government not interested in resuming online classes

ByMike V. Cooper

Jul 2, 2022

The government does not plan to consider online courses again and has urged everyone to refrain from creating such hype or demands among students.

A senior government official and Education Ministry officials made the remarks during an interview with the Dhaka Tribune on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the University Grants Commission (UGC) has also discouraged such speculation.

He said it would not be a wise decision to resume virtual classes when educational institutions have not yet been able to recoup the loss of learning from the previous year.

Talk to Dhaka GrandstandDeputy Minister of Education Mohibul Hasan Chowdhury Nowfel said that currently the ministry has no plans to move to e-learning.

Despite this new variant of the coronavirus which is creating a fourth wave, no educational establishment has been closed in the world, he added.

He noted, “While we keep mosques, temples, shopping malls and social events open, why should we keep schools and universities closed?”

The Deputy Minister went on to say that there will be a long vacation period ahead in relation to Eid-ul-Adha.

“It would be totally counterproductive to force institutions to connect. The existing digital divide will only deepen. It is very difficult to achieve school-level learning outcomes if courses are taken online,” Mohibul observed.

He urged the media not to encourage this request. “It will only help urban students as our rural students are still suffering in this sector since Covid hit the country.”

Professor Dil Afroza Begum, President (in charge) of UGC, mentioned that although it was totally the decision of the government, the Ministry of Health could also give its opinion here. “But we don’t prefer it at the moment.”

Echoing the Deputy Minister’s statement, UGC Secretary Dr Ferdous Zaman said: “We discourage the introduction of online classes in place of in-person classes. There is no possibility of resuming online classes anytime soon.

Universities don’t want to go online

Meanwhile, university authorities have said they don’t want to move everything online either.

Vice Chancellors (VCs) of most public universities have told Dhaka Tribune that they are not interested in taking online courses.

If any students, teachers, officials or staff are infected with Covid, then authorities will take effective action, they said, adding that there was still no chance of resuming online classes.

According to the VCs, students and teachers were also unwilling to resume online classes.

ASM Maksud Kamal, a pro-VC (academic) from the University of Dhaka, told this correspondent: “We have not decided on online courses, exams or this type of supervision. We will control the infection through precautionary measures. In-person classes will continue. “

It may be recalled, however, that on June 30, the Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet) shifted postgraduate in-person courses to online courses from Saturday due to the increasing number of students infected with Covid-19.

On Saturday, Buet VC Dr Satya Prasad Majumdar told Dhaka Tribune: “It was a temporary decision. A meeting will be held after Eid-ul-Azha to come up with a better plan.”

Professor Imran Rahman, VC of University of Liberal Arts Bangladesh (ULAB), said: “Despite what we have been through due to Covid, we are not considering them (online courses) now. We will monitor the situation and make a decision subject to the authorization of the supreme body of the university.

Professor Atiqul Islam, VC of North-South University (NSU), said private universities had been regulated by the UGC in taking such a decision.

“We are therefore still awaiting their advice, although we have enough preparations to organize online courses to deal with the situation,” he continued.