Despite high enthusiasm among students, school authorities said the overall response was disappointing. Education department officials have blamed laxity among a large proportion of students and the risk of infection for fewer voters on the first day.
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Even though the flow of students to schools in some of the major places in the capital seemed encouraging in the morning, the final vote in Kamrup (metro) district was disappointing. “The average attendance in Greater Guwahati was less than 40%. Most students are reluctant to come to school,” said Prasanna Bora, inspector (IS) of Kamrup (Metro) School. Govinda Kalita, a teacher at New Guwahati Railway Colony High School, said that although 100 per cent students were present, a large number of students were absent in rural Kamrup (metro). “The lack of online gadgets, weak networks and the cost of using internet data have brought a significant number of students across Assam to offline classes,” said Kalita, general secretary of the Assam Secondary Education and Employees Association.
About 47% students were present in the schools of Laxmimpur district of Upper Assam. The presence of inland and riverine areas devastated by the recent flood waves was very low. Education department officials in Lakhimpur, however, felt that there was less concern among students about the virus. “Lakshmipur IS, Ramesh Chutia said,“ A section of meritorious and willing students have come to the school.
Across the district, the response was mostly positive in district headquarters and schools located in urban areas. Most students stay at home in indoor locations where online classes face major obstacles due to the weakness of the internet class.
Even districts in Upper Assam like Shivsagar voted well, Education Department sources said, not more than 60%. “Educational institutions are being opened in phases. As the government is monitoring the situation, some parents are not willing to send their children to school now. If there is no major infection in the coming days, we are optimistic about improving attendance,” said a senior state secondary education official.
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