Some private schools have decided to conduct online classes during the extended summer vacation.
But a number of government-aided schools, whose students lack the means to attend online classes, said they would make up for the academic loss once the campuses reopen after the summer vacation.
Chief minister Mamata Banerjee on Wednesday announced that the summer vacation at all schools — government-run, government-aided and private — would continue till June 15 because of the ongoing heat spell.
The Met office on Thursday declared a heatwave alert till June 7.
Before Mamata’s announcement, all schools affiliated to the state secondary education board were to reopen on June 5. And all schools affiliated to the state primary education board were to reopen on June 7.
The La Martiniere schools and Indus Valley World School have decided to conduct online classes from June 13 till the campuses reopen. A few others are exploring the possibility but have not taken a decision yet.
Officials of the La Martiniere for Girls and La Martiniere for Boys said online classes will be held till June 16 and in-person classes will resume on June 19.
“Technology has been a saviour, because of which we are able to conduct classes,” said Rupkatha Sarkar, principal, La Martiniere for Girls.
“We will issue a notice on June 9 regarding online classes. Parents will have to make arrangements for devices. If both parents work, they will have to arrange for someone to babysit their children during online classes,” said Amita Prasad, director, Indus Valley World School.
South Point, which was to reopen on June 14, will defer the reopening by a day. The St Augustine’s Day Schools in Shyamnagar and Barrackpore will reopen on June 16. Rammohan Mission High School will reopen on June 15.
In a notification issued by the West Bengal Board of Secondary Education on Thursday, the heads of all affiliated schools have been asked to schedule extra classes once the campuses reopen to make up for the loss suffered because of the extended summer vacation.
The summer vacation at all government and aided schools started on May 2 this year, instead of May 24 as had been announced earlier.
“...it is re-stated that the teaching and non-teaching staff of schools shall make suitable arrangements for conducting extra classes after re-opening of schools to make up the loss due to early closure of schools. In addition to this, it may be said that punctuality needs to be maintained strictly by all and no staff shall leave the premises without the permission of HOI. (Head of the institution),” reads the notification issued by the state secondary education board.
This will be the second time this summer that private schools are conducting online classes, instead of suspending classes altogether, to maintain continuity. Private schools had switched to online classes when the government ordered weeklong closure of the campuses from April 17 because of an unusual heat spell.
For government-aided schools, however, online sessions are hardly an option because most students lack the smart devices to attend the classes.
The heads of some government-aided schools said they were waiting for further orders from the state government on how to conduct extra classes to make up for the loss. At present, they don’t have any plans.
Saugata Basu, general secretary of the West Bengal Government School Teachers’ Association, said a prolonged summer vacation might come in the way of completing the syllabus on time. That would impact the students’ performance in the second summative test, scheduled for July.
Saudipta Das, of the Collegium of Assistant Headmasters and Assistant Headmistresses, said the decline in the performance of high scorers in Madhyamik and the higher secondary exams this year show the absence of classroom teaching has weakened the students’ base.
“If the summer vacation is prolonged, we won’t be able to remedy their base,” Das said.