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According to the Department of Secondary and Higher Education, the student attendance rate was 67 per cent on 12 September, it reduced to 58 per cent on 18 September and dropped further to 56 per cent on 25 September. Attendance of 10th graders has decreased by 15 per cent, ninth graders by 11 per cent and fifth graders by 2 per cent. Attendance at the primary level is relatively promising.

According to the Department of Secondary and Higher Education, before the coronavirus infection, the attendance rate at the secondary level was between 75 and 80 per cent. At present, it has come down to 56 per cent. However, education officials say the drop in attendance does not mean that these students have dropped out.

Many parents may have decided not to send their children to school as symptoms of coronavirus infection appeared among the students in some educational institutions. So it would not be right to think of it as a permanent problem. An education official said 93 per cent of SSC candidates had submitted assignments despite low attendance.

The issue of absence of students is not negligible. It is necessary to find out the reason of indifference of the students who have been absent since attending the school on 12 September. Many parents say they are not sending their children to school because they have classes one day a week. To solve this problem, the classroom time should be increased. The rate of coronavirus infection is declining.

As a result, we hope parents who are still in fear will send students to the classroom in the future. Boys who have been forced to go to work due to financial crisis of their families should be included in the Out of Education Programme (PEDP-4). If necessary, financial assistance should be given to the concerned families. Programmes can also be taken so that the girls who are married can continue their study. In our country, there are innumerable examples of girls studying even after marriage.

We have to try to bring back all those who were in the classroom before 17 March, 2020. The government needs to have special programme in this regard. At the same time, the local education administration, teachers, people's representatives, private organisations and the management committee of educational institutions should also come forward. It is through joint efforts that 100 per cent attendance at schools has to be ensured.

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