The deputy minister emphasised the need to vaccinate the students as a requisite to reopen educational institutions. We also agree with the idea of vaccinating the students before resuming classes or exams. Although the authorities have been indifferent in this regard before, there have been some positive steps recently.
The government has decided that students above the age of 18 can apply for the vaccine with the identity card of their respective educational institutions. According to the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), as of 2 August, 72,257 university students and 3,662 medical students have received their first jab.
In addition, about 2,000 students have received their second jab. But most students at universities are still out of the purview. The University Grants Commission has said that if about 9 million doses (about 4.5 million students) can be administered at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels, it is possible to bring everyone under the vaccine programme.
Educational institutions should be reopened gradually. It can be start with the universities followed by higher secondary and secondary level institutions with primary schools at the last. The government must take necessary preparation if it plans to reopen the educational institutions after 31 August.
All the educational institutions have been closed for almost a year and a half and they are in an almost abandoned condition. Cleaning will take time. If the roofs, walls and furniture of the educational institution are damaged, the repair work will take time, too.
If the government wants to reopen the educational institutions after vaccination, it needs to procure the vaccines quickly. Each student must be given two doses of the vaccine. Those who have already had the the jab, should get their second one within a month. Those who have not yet received their shot, will have to wait longer. If the government can vaccinate export-oriented factory workers under special arrangements, why not students?