Sri Lanka’s schools resume after year-long closure

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FILE PHOTO: Sri Lanka’s schools resume after year-long closure.

Sri Lanka’s schools started to reopen on Thursday after more than a year of Coronavirus pandemic-related closures, and in spite of a teachers’ strike.

Only schools with less than 200 students around 3,800 of some 10,200 schools would open to start, meaning some 400,000 pupils can return to their classes.

The staggered system would enable health authorities to ensure maximum precautions while other schools would be gradually reopened in the next few weeks and enable all 4.3 million pupils to go back.

Online teaching programmes were introduced during the year-long closure of schools, but a strike of state-school teachers over salary disagreements affected the scheme in the last three months.

Some of the teachers decided not to attend school on Thursday and Friday as part of the continued protests but will return to work from next Monday.

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The government has decided to agree to revise teacher salaries on a system phased over four years, though some unions have not accepted the solution.

Sri Lanka has vaccinated over 60 per cent of the population for COVID-19 and introduced a new programme to provide vaccination for schoolchildren.

The COVID-19 daily death toll, which at one point averaged over 200, has dropped to 20 per day.

Sri Lanka since March last year has recorded 13,543 COVID-19 deaths while half a million persons were infected.