A boy breaks into a cool jig as water jets out of a burst pipeline, connected to Rukka Dam, at Booty More in Ranchi on a hot Monday. Picture by Prashant Mitra
The Ranchi district administration came out with a formal order on Monday, asking all schools to wrap up classes till standard VIII by 11am from May 1, sparing students the ordeal of returning home in the extreme midday heat.
With the mercury pushing 40°C in the district, parents of several schools had requested the authorities to end classes, at least in junior and middle sections, early. Ranchi Abhibhavak Manch, an outfit formed by parents, had also made similar pleas.
But the schools did not pay heed, prompting many parents to approach the district authorities.
“We have received complaints from several parents that schools are yet to change their timings. I have issued a directive to deputy superintendent of education Jayant Mishra to ensure that studies from KG till Class VIII end by 11am in all government and private schools. It depends on the school administration when they want to begin their classes, but all schools should get over by 11am,” deputy commissioner (DC) Vinay Kumar Choubey made it clear.
Jamshedpur has already taken a lead in this regard. From last week, most ICSE and CBSE schools are beginning classes 45 minutes or an hour early and wrapping up before or by noon.
On Monday, East Singhbhum deputy commissioner Amitabh Kaushal asked government schools to conduct classes between 6am and 10am from May 2 even as Singhbhum Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) requested him to recommend early summer vacation at private schools. The cradles are likely to close from the first week of May.
In Ranchi, most schools start between 7.30am and 8am and give over around 2.30pm when the temperature is at its peak. On Monday, the maximum temperature in Ranchi was 38.6°C while the reading was 39°C on Sunday. The worst sufferers are students of government schools as most of them travel on foot or bicycles.
Although students of private cradles are better off since they commute by school buses, pool cars and other modes of public transport, they are also prone to falling sick on being exposed to the afternoon sun. “Our children are suffering from dehydration and vomiting. By the time, they reach home, they are completely exhausted and cannot concentrate on studies,” complained Natasha Prasad, mother of nine-year-old Nimesh, who studies at DAV Public School, Bariatu.
A few school principals like Manohar Lal of Gurunanak Higher Secondary School, however, justified their decision of not changing the school timings before.
“We are shutting down for summer vacation from May 10. Hence, we didn’t think that we required to change school hours for a few days,” Lal said.
Army School, on the other hand, felt that the temperature was normal. “We are running our school from 7.30am to 1.30pm. Our students are not facing much of a problem as the temperature is not very high,” an official said.