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Humidity lock on schools for 10 days

Calcutta, June 13: Bengal does not need an excuse for a holiday. Today, it found a new one. The humidity.

The Mamata Banerjee government declared today that classes in all state-aided primary, secondary and higher secondary institutions in the state would remain suspended from June 16 to June 25

Most of the schools were scheduled to reopen after summer vacation on June 16.

Some, which had already reopened, will have to shut down again, an official in the education department said.

“Classes will remain suspended in all government, government sponsored and non-government aided and unaided schools (primary to higher secondary) from 16th June to 25th June, 2014, because of (the) prevailing heat wave across the state,” said a circular to all primary, secondary and higher secondary schools.

The announcement of the ten-day extension of the summer vacation brought joy to thousands of students.

But teachers of many schools wondered whether it would be possible for them to provide quality education to children if the number of teaching and learning days in the schools were reduced this way.

Unscheduled holidays have become a regular affair in the state.

Suspension of classes outside the scheduled holiday list were declared by the government on several occasions before to commemorate birth and death anniversaries of great personalities.

The government had declared an unscheduled holiday in 2012 to commemorate the birth anniversary of Iswarchandra Vidyasagar.

In 2011, the government declared Rabindranath Tagore’s death anniversary a holiday because his birth anniversary had passed by the time the new government came to power.

Schools were declared closed even the day after the poet’s death anniversary (Baishey Shraban) because the chief minister thought the children would be too tired after participating in a programme organised by the state government the previous day.

Heads of some schools Metro spoke to said that they welcomed the government’s move to keep the classes suspended for another nine days to give students relief from the heat.

But many of them expressed surprise because the government has never shown an interest on how the schools should compensate the loss of classes.

“ We would have been happy if the government had mentioned in the circular how we would compensate the loss of classes,” said a headmaster of a school.

If the schools are unable to complete the syllabus, the worst sufferers would be the Class X and Class XII batches as they would be appearing the board exam next year.

This year, the state-aided schools already lost nearly three weeks after beginning the new sessions in April because thousands of schools were forced to hand over their premises to the Election Commission for conducting the general elections and also because the government had to advance the summer vacation for the heat.

The summer vacations in the state –aided schools were supposed to begin in mid-May.

But the state government had directed all state-aided primary, secondary and higher secondary institutions across the state to bring forward their summer vacation for 15 days to spare the students the torture of attending schools during the hot spell that was going on at that time.

The government issued a circular on April 24 asking 57,000 primary and over 18,000 secondary and higher secondary schools will start their summer vacations on May 2 instead of May 15 this year.

Schools under the Delhi boards, do not come under the ambit of the holiday circular issued on Friday.

The circular, however, said that teachers will attend schools during the period and the process of admission to Class XI will go on as usual.