Students attending neighbourhood classes on first day Credit: File image

Agartala: A week after starting the neighbourhood classes in open places maintaining social distancing and other COVID-19 precautions, Tripura government on Friday ordered suspension of the classes after the state registered a sudden spike in COVID-19 cases.

Speaking with EastMojo, education minister Ratan Lal Nath termed this decision as unfortunate, as just a week later, the neighbourhood classes had to be suspended after the state registered its biggest single-day spike of 509 COVID-19 cases.

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“We have tried our level best to impart education among the students who could not attend the online classes due to the absence of smartphone and cable television connection. The sudden spike in the number of COVID-19 cases is alarming. To continue classes amidst these situations would be dangerous for our students,” Nath said.

He also said that the opinion from the parents and guardians is being taken and so far a total of 73.11 teachers have agreed with the neighbourhood classes and 26.21 have disagreed with the idea.

“On the first day of the neighbourhood classes, over 1 lakh students and 19,000 teachers participated, while today [Friday], 20,280 teachers and 1,23, 707 students attended the classes across the state,” Nath added.

In an order copy under signed by chief secretary Manoj Kumar said in view of the increasing COVID-19 cases in the state the neighbourhood classes would remain suspended with effect from August 29 until further order.

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“However, the following ongoing activities shall continue including live classes in local TV Channels, broadcasting of recorded video classes by Doordarshan & local cable TV channels, Ektu Khelo Ektu Poro activities for children and classes by teachers through various video conferencing platforms,” the order copy informed.

The order copy also informed that all the HMs of schools under the Education (School) Department are requested to ensure strict compliance of the above instructions.

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A survey conducted by the Tripura New Disha (new direction) cell under ‘Ektu Khelo Ektu Poro’ in 3,974 schools, 94,013 students (29%) did not have access to online classes amid the lockdown.

Tripura has around 27,000 teachers imparting education in 4,400 government and government aided schools across the state.

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