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EDUCATION

Manipur Govt Directs Schools To Not Collect Fees For April-July Period

Fee if already collected for these months by the schools shall be adjusted with subsequent months in future.

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IMPHAL (Manipur): The Manipur State Education Department has ordered all private and aided schools in the State not to collect fees from students for the months of April to July of the present academic session considering the closure of schools due to COVID-19.

State Education Minister Th. Radheshyam convened a press conference this evening and appealed to all schools and guardians to follow the government order regarding the fee structure.

An order issued by the Department also directed these schools not to hike admission fees for the academic session 2020-21 while collecting the same.


Monthly school fees, including fees under any nomenclature up to March, maybe collected without hiking the amount.

Fee if already collected for these months by the schools shall be adjusted with subsequent months in future.

Regarding the salary of teaching and non-teaching staff of these schools, the order instructed payment of 50 per cent of salaries for staff with a student enrollment of 700 and below while full payment for the schools with a student enrolment of more than 700 students.

The Minister said that practices of luring students by giving freebies including laptops, tablets and other monetary benefits by schools is to be condemned.


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COVID19

COVID-19: Schools To Reopen From September 21 For Classes 9 To 12; Read SOPs

The govt said that students of these classes can come to school on a “voluntary basis”.

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NEW DELHI: The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has allowed schools to reopen for resuming the face-to-face method of learning from September 21. The ministry has issued a set of guidelines for holding these classes. It is meant to serve as a guide to schools on the safety measures they need to take during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

These Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) follow the centre’s Unlock-4 guidelines to allow schools to reopen in areas outside containment zones.

Disallowing of sharing of notebooks, pens or pencils, water bottles among students, a prohibition of assemblies and sports, encouraging online learning, entry of asymptomatic persons are some of the important points of the guidelines.


It said, however, written consent of the student’s parents or guardians will be required and such visits for teacher-student interactions must be organized in a staggered manner.

The seating arrangement has to be made to ensure a distance of 6 feet between chairs, desks etc and the teaching faculty will ensure that they themselves and students wear masks throughout the conduct of the teaching or guidance activities.

If there is cafeteria or mess facility within the premises, it shall remain closed.

For ensuring queue management inside and outside the premises, specific markings on the floor with a gap of 6 feet may be made.


Similarly, physical distancing shall also be maintained in staff rooms, office areas including the reception area, and other places.

Weather permitting, outdoor spaces may be utilized for conducting teacher-student interactions, keeping in view the safety and security of students and physical distancing protocols.

The concerned teaching and non-teaching employees up to 50 per cent of the strength may be called to schools for online teaching or tele-counselling and related work.

The installation and use of the Aarogya Setu App may be advised wherever feasible.

The appropriate back-up stock of personal protection items like face covers or masks, hand sanitizers etc shall be made available by management to the teachers and employees.


An adequate supply of thermal guns, alcohol wipes or 1 per cent sodium hypochlorite solutions and disposable paper towels, soap, IEC materials on COVID-19 should be provided.

A pulse oximeter to check oxygen saturation levels of any symptomatic person must be arranged.

The guidelines also call for ensuring regular counselling for students and teachers reporting mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

The SOPs said that it is advisable that teachers, school counsellors and school health workers should work in unison to ensure the emotional safety of the student.

The entrance should have mandatory hand hygiene sanitizer dispenser and thermal screening provisions.

For the conduct of skill-based training in workshops and laboratories, a floor area of 4 square metres per person should be made available for working on equipment or work stations.

Cleaning and regular disinfection using 1 per cent sodium hypochlorite of frequently touched surfaces like doorknobs, elevator buttons, handrails, chairs, benches, washroom fixtures, will be made mandatory in all classrooms, laboratories, lockers, parking areas, other common areas, before the beginning of classes and at the end of the day.

All employees who are at higher risk like older employees, pregnant employees and employees who have underlying medical conditions to take extra precautions. They should preferably not be exposed to any front-line work requiring direct contact with the students.

If the transportation facility is being managed by the school, proper physical distancing, sanitization of buses or other transport vehicles with 1 per cent sodium hypochlorite shall be ensured.

Prior to resumption of activities, all work areas intended for teaching or demonstrations etc., including laboratories, other common utility areas shall be sanitized with 1 per cent sodium hypochlorite solution, with particular attention to frequently touched surfaces.


Schools that were used as quarantine centres should be properly sanitized and deep cleaned before partial functioning is resumed.

In case a student or teacher or employee develops symptoms, the ill person should be in a room or area where they are isolated from others and the nearest medical facility should be informed.

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COVID19

7 Chief Ministers To Move SC Seeking Postponement Of JEE, NEET Exams

The CMs are Mamata, Uddhav, Amarinder, Hemant Soren, Gehlot, Baghel and V Narayanasamy.

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NEW DELHI: Supporting the demand for postponement of NEET and JEE examinations in view of the coronavirus pandemic, seven chief ministers of non-BJP ruled states on Wednesday decided to jointly move the Supreme Court on the issue.

During the meeting with Congress interim president Sonia Gandhi, these chief ministers agreed in one accord to file a review petition urging the Supreme Court to reconsider its recent order rejecting the postponement of the competitive exams, sources said.

The chief ministers who took part in the meeting included Mamata Banerjee, Uddhav Thackeray, Amarinder Singh, Hemant Soren, Ashok Gehlot, Bhupesh Baghel and V Narayanasamy.


A decision was taken to discuss the matter and evolve a joint strategy in this regard, the sources said.

Sonia Gandhi said the Congress party was on board on the issue and asked Banerjee, who proposed a joint appeal by the states in the apex court, to work out with Amarinder Singh and other chief ministers on the legal recourse.

She said whatever steps need to be taken in the interest of students should be taken unitedly.


Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Twitter urged the central government to listen to their grievances and find an amicable solution.

“NEET-JEE aspirants are worried about their health and future. They have genuine concerns of: fear of Covid19 infection, transport and lodging during pandemic and flood-mayhem in Assam and Bihar,” he said.

“GOI must listen to all stakeholders and find an acceptable solution,” he said.

Earlier, during the chief ministers’ meeting, Jharkhand CM Hemant Soren suggested meeting the president and prime minister on the issue, to which Banerjee and Amarinder Singh said there was no time for that, considering JEE Mains are scheduled to be held from September 1 to 6.

Sonia Gandhi set the stage for a discussion on the JEE, NEET issue by mentioning in her opening remarks that the government was looking at the students’ issue “uncaringly”.


West Bengal CM Banerjee added that, “States can jointly appeal against Supreme Court order on holding JEE/NEET examinations if the Centre decides not to do holding JEE/NEET examinations if the Centre decides not to do so”.

Banerjee said that students were not mentally prepared to take the examination in the middle of a pandemic. “Rail is not working properly, there are problems in aviation…under this lockdown protocoI I do not know how they will sit for this exam,” she said.

Delhi Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia separately said medical and engineering entrance exams NEET and JEE should be postponed and the central government should work on alternative methods for selecting students. “They (Centre) are saying protocols will be followed. Following the same protocols that the Centre wants 28 lakh students to follow, lakhs of Indians have tested positive,” the Aam Aadmi Party told reporters.

“How can we take the risk of sending 28 lakh students to exam centres and be assured that they will not be infected,” Sisodia asked.

DMK chief M K Stalin welcomed the decision of the seven chief ministers to appeal to the Supreme Court for postponement of NEET, JEE exams and thanked Sonia Gandhi for her efforts. He said the Tamil Nadu government should also move the Supreme Court.

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EDUCATION

JEE, NEET Will Be Held On Schedule, Says National Testing Agency

The number of candidates per shift has also been reduced from 1,32,000 to 85,000.

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NEW DELHI: National Testing Agency (NTA) has announced new dates for JEE (MAIN) and NEET(UG). JEE (MAIN) is announced to now be held between September 1 to September 6, 2020, while #NEET (UG) is scheduled to be held on September 13, 2020.

Importantly, the NTA has released a Detailed Safety Plan on its official website. It has also substantially increased the number of examination centres.

In order to meet the social distancing requirements due to COVID-19 pandemic, the number of Examination Centers have been increased from 570 to 660 in case of JEE-Mains and from 2,546 to 3,843 for NEET-UG 2020.


Additionally, in the case of JEE-Mains, the number of shifts have been increased from 8 to 12.

The number of candidates per shift has also been reduced from 1,32,000 to 85,000.

This year nearly 8 lakh 50 thousand candidates have registered for JEE-Mains while the number of registrations for NEET-UG has been nearly 16 lakhs.


In order to ensure proper social distancing inside the examination halls, the candidates will be seated in alternate seats in case of JEE-Mains. As another precautionary step, the number of candidates allowed to take NEET-UG test in one room has been reduced from 24 to 12.

For ensuring social distancing outside the examination hall, the entry and exit of candidates have been staggered. Adequate arrangements have also been made outside the examination centres to enable candidates to follow social distancing norms.

NTA has also written to the State Governments to extend support in local movement of the candidates so that they are able to reach their examination centres on time.

Candidates have also been issued advisory guiding them about “Do’s and Don’ts” for proper social distancing:

  • Students will have to compulsorily wear a face mask, hand gloves and carry a personal water bottle and hand sanitiser to the exam centre.
  • The entry to the exam centre will be staggered and there will be thermal scanning. All exam centres will also have “isolation rooms” for those candidates whose body temperature is above 99.4 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Their admit card will have detailed instructions on maintaining physical distancing guidelines, the NTA said. The agency has also clarified that that almost all candidates have been provided their first choice of centres.
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