Picture Source : Facebook
Since before the first Lockdown, which started in the latter half of March 2020, schools, colleges, universities and other educational institutions have remained closed in West Bengal, for over 17 months now. This has resulted in a high rate of students dropping out from primary and secondary schools of Bengal, along with colleges and universities, due to the worsening economic conditions of less privileged families of the state, the ones that were hit in the worst way due to the Pandemic.
Ever since the fury of the Covid-19 Pandemic has lessened, and other facilities such as restaurants, bars, movie halls have been reopened in the State, students all over Bengal have demanded the reopening of educational institutions, claiming that online education cannot be the alternative to physical, classroom education, especially since not everyone can avail the luxury of online education, creating a Digital Divide.
The Students’ Federation of India - a left, progressive students’ organization – have organized a unique form of protest at more than a thousand spots of the state on the 12th of August, in the form of Alternative Classrooms, demanding the immediate vaccination of all students, sanitization of the campuses and reopening of all educational institutions, maintaining all Covid guidelines.
From all around the State, pictures of students attending physical classes on the roads, including the busy College Street of Kolkata, where classes were conducted by eminent teachers and professors of the likes of Sudipta Banerjee, et al.
Among other demands of the organization, there is the demand for a Special Stimulus Package for less privileged students and a larger expenditure on the education sector by the Government.