'State wants to inoculate 85% of pupils before taking stand on edu institutes'

State wants to inoculate 85% of pupils before taking stand on edu institutes

kolkata: The state government had set a target of vaccinating at least 85 per cent of the students before taking a decision on reopening of educational institutions, the counsel representing the state on Friday submitted before the High Court during the hearing of Public Interest Litigations (PILs) seeking reopening of educational institutions in the state.

The Calcutta High Court, on the other hand, sought government's response in connection with PILs, seeking reopening of schools and colleges, by February 14.

A division bench, comprising Chief Justice Prakash Shrivastava and Justice Rajarshi Bharadwaj, during the hearing of the PILs, directed the state government to place its stand on record regarding the opening of schools and colleges before the next date of hearing, scheduled on February 14.

Advocate general S.N. Mookherjee, representing the state government, submitted that the state government was targeting 85 per cent vaccination rate in students before taking any decision on reopening schools.

Even though admittedly physical learning is far better than virtual learning, the state has a responsibility to be careful before reopening educational institutions in the present COVID-19 scenario, the counsel submitted.

Mentioning that state government was also in favour of reopening of educational institutions, advocate general Mookherjee also submitted a detailed report before the court, which included a chart wherein it was stipulated that out of the targeted population of 45,39,811 students, only 33,99,170 students had been given the first dose of the vaccine as of January 25, 2022.

Advocate Bikash Ranjan Bhattacharya, representing the petitioner, argued that schools and colleges should be immediately reopened since the current situation was having an educational and psychological effect on the students. He argued that due to closure of educational institutions, there had been increase in student suicides, child labour and number of student dropouts. This apart, teachers were sitting idle and educational buildings were getting damaged. The vaccination drive for youngsters in the 15-18 years age group had begun in state on Jaunary 3.

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