News Frontliner Web Desk, 04 May 2019: In a rather surprising and unprecedented decision, West Bengal government declared holidays in all state-run schools for nearly two months, from 3 May to 30 June 2019.
The summer vacation in most state-aided Madhyamik, Primary and Higher Secondary institutions usually starts between May 19 and May 23 and lasts for nearly a month. But this year, unusual adversity that might arise from cyclonic storm ‘Fani’ between 3rd and 5th May have been clubbed with the summer vacation scheduled to start in the third week of May.
The government order cites the oppressive heat wave besides cyclone Fani for the decision.
Manish Jain, principal secretary of school education department, on Thursday issued the notice directing all state-aided schools to keep classes suspended from Friday till June 30 because of the “adverse weather condition”.
The government read, “Due to predicted severe cyclonic storm “Fani” likely to hit coastal areas of West Bengal and extreme hot weather conditions prevailing in the state, it has been decided that classes will remain suspended in all Government, Govt-Sponsored and non-Govt aided schools (Primary to Higher secondary) from 3rd May, 2019 to 30th June 2019.”
The government on Thursday sent a similar notice to the heads of the Delhi-based Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE); however no dictum has been thrusted upon them. They have been rather asked that they may also consider taking similar action for all schools affiliated to your Council/Board and located within the territorial jurisdiction of West Bengal.
Added to this, most of the government schools in those areas where Lok Sabha polls have already taken place or in those areas where election will take place in 5th, 6th or 7th phase will have to suspend classes for at least 4 to 7 days.
Such a startling decision by the state government has raised several question pertaining to government’s intent about education. Heads of several government schools have raises apprehension on the fact that extending summer vacation holidays by another one month will invariably lead to class syllabus not getting completed.
Many families depend on mid-day meals being served to their wards at school and now a vacation of two month will put extra burden on these families.
Social media has already been abuzz with public discontentment on this controversial issue.