Jharkhand school education and literacy department finally heeded the forecast of the Met department and spared primary and middle school students from scorching heat by further extending the school closure till June 17.
The order issued by the secretary of the department, K. Ravikumar, on Wednesday afternoon effectively means the primary and middle-level schools (from Kindergarten to Class VIII) will open on June 19 (Monday) as June 18 is a Sunday.
The department had issued an order on Sunday evening to close down schools for three days from Monday to Wednesday, surprising even the Met officials in Ranchi as the weather bulletin on Sunday had said that the heatwave condition would continue across Jharkhand at least for the next five days while the onset of the monsoon was expected between June 18 and 20.
The Wednesday order of the school education and literacy department stated that students of classes IX to XII would have to attend schools from June 15 “as usual” which invited criticism from private school owners, parents and also teachers.
“It seems that the department’s top officials feel that students and teachers in high schools are resistant to heat and can perform their duties in such harsh weather conditions,” said a Jamshedpur-based high school teacher on condition of anonymity.
Private Schools and Children Welfare Association (PSCWA), Jharkhand chapter, again termed the decision of the education department taken under pressure from the chief minister Hemant Soren.
“We had written to the chief minister apprising him about the threat to students, if the schools are opened from June 15, and it seems the education secretary has finally been made to understand the tough situation in which the students especially in city outskirts and rural areas have to travel long distance on bikes, cycles and mass transit to reach their schools which is evident with the extension of the school closure order for classes till eight,” said PSCWA Jharkhand president Alok Dubey.
“However, what are the mistakes of ninth graders and above? Are they not humans? We will again approach the chief minister to ensure that even high schools are closed till the onset of the monsoon. We have personally suggested private schools whose officials are associated with us not to open schools before June 18,” added Dubey.
Ranchi Met office in-charge Abhishek Anand reiterated that heatwave conditions would persist in southern parts of Jharkhand and also in Palamau and nearby areas for at least five days. He also informed that according to the IMD forecast, the monsoon is likely to arrive in the state between June 18 and 20.