The state government on Friday wrote to the heads of all private schools in Kolkata to conduct classes online.
The Samagra Shiksha Mission, Kolkata, a wing of the government, mailed the letter a day after the education department met principals of private schools and told them to switch to online classes or bring forward their summer break.
“Apropos of the discussion held in the meeting… on May 5, all the principals of the recognised self-financed institutions managed by the private bodies of Kolkata district are requested to conduct the classes through online mode (if required) without disturbing the board’s and or council’s examinations…” the letter says.
An official of the education department said if any school felt that online classes were not required, it could declare summer recess in line with a state government notification.
The government had on April 27 declared that the summer vacation in schools, except those in the hill districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong, had been brought forward because of scorching heat and would start on May 2.
“Schools need not curtail the syllabus and that is why they can continue with online lessons. Friday’s letter was a follow-up to the exercise that started on Wednesday,” the education department official said.
Government officials had on Wednesday called up some private schools, asking them whether they were continuing with in-person classes or had switched to online teaching. The schools were also requested to go for an early summer break.
The move followed reports that some private schools in Kolkata were planning to resume in-person classes as spells of rain since last Saturday had brought down the Celsius a bit.
Several private schools said on Friday evening they had switched to online classes.
“At Thursday’s meeting it was made clear to us that we had little choice. Our argument that reverting to online classes (which continued for two years because of Covid till the campuses reopened for in-person teaching) would affect psychological well being of the children went unheeded,” said a principal.
Some of the schools said they would go online next week.
In the letter, the schools have been told to observe Rabindra Jayanti, which falls on May 9. “After observing Rabindra Jayanti, we will switch to online classes,” said a principal.
An official in the education department said the district inspectors of schools across the state had been asked to pass on the message to private schools in their areas so they too switch to online classes or go into summer recess. “We want uniformity to be maintained across the state.”