The persistent anti-government political programmes enforced by BNP and like-minded political parties have cast a shadow over academic activities in Dhaka and parts of Bangladesh.
Many schools and colleges in the capital have remained open despite the blockades but students’ attendance has dropped remarkably. Many guardians are reluctant to send their children to schools and colleges, especially those who live far from the educational institutions.
Additionally, educational institutions have been forced to postpone scheduled exams, compounding the stress and uncertainty over students' studies.
The latest bout of the political turmoil saw a nationwide hartal on October 29. After the end of a three-day blockade on October 31, a two-day blockade is currently underway on November 5 and 6. This ongoing situation has left students and parents in a state of panic, with fears of a more challenging political situation throughout November and December.
The implications of this political unrest are most profound in divisional cities and district headquarters, including the capital.
Talking to the UNB reporter, many parents said they are particularly concerned about the safety of their children during their commute to and from school in these challenging times.
Almost all educational institutions in the capital, including Motijheel Ideal School and College, Banasree Ideal School and College, Viqarunnisa Noon School and College Main Branch and Bashundhara Branch, Government Laboratory High School, Motijheel Government Girls High School, Rampura Ekramunnesa Girls' School, Rajuk Uttara Model School and College, and Banani Bidyaniketan, have reported a significant decrease in attendance.
Some English medium schools have been forced to close indefinitely, while others have resorted to holding classes online.
Parents are increasingly concerned about the disparities between physical and online classes and are uncertain about the upcoming half-yearly exams.
Sarwar Alam, a parent of a child studying at English medium school 'Play-Pen' located in Bashundhara, said, “We've shifted to online classes. However, there are noticeable disparities between physical classroom instruction and online learning. With the upcoming half-yearly exam scheduled for November 10, I am uncertain about how this examination will be carried out.”
Ruhul Amin, a parent of a student at Ideal School and College, expressed the dilemma many parents are facing. “My two children study at Ideal School’s Banasree branch. I didn't allow my children to come to school during the previous phase of the hartal and blockade. They missed a week of school. Now it is happening again. Who knows how long this will last? That's why I brought my child to school again. But there is a sense of fear within us, wondering what will happen and when,” he said.
The anxiety and concerns of parents are echoed by Abdul Majid Sujan, general secretary of the guardians’ forum at Viqarunnisa Noon School and College. “The children's annual examination is scheduled to be held this month. Meanwhile, the continuous strike and blockade are creating panic among parents. We are afraid and worried about sending the children to school, especially when it comes to traveling on the road,”
Director of the Directorate of Secondary and Higher Education Professor Mohammad Belal Hossain, said that the annual evaluation of schools will start on November 9, with the goal of completing the examination by November 30.
However, if the situation deteriorates, decisions will be made in consultation with higher authorities, he said.
According to the previous schedule, the annual evaluation for class VI and VII students under the new curriculum was scheduled to begin on November 5 but has now been rescheduled to start on November 9.
The impact of these disruptions extends beyond the capital, with divisional and district towns also experiencing low student turnout.
In response to the evolving situation, schools have received revised schedules for examinations. Parents are left with no choice but to take risks and send their children to schools despite the uncertain circumstances.