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Heatwave: Vacation advanced in government and aided schools in West Bengal

ICSE and ISC exams to continue, confirms Gerry Arathoon, chief executive and CISCE secretary

Subhankar Chowdhury, Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 28.04.22, 06:55 AM
A pedestrian uses a file cover to shield himself from the sun on Wednesday afternoon.

A pedestrian uses a file cover to shield himself from the sun on Wednesday afternoon.

Picture by Pradip Sanyal

The summer vacation in government and government-aided schools has been advanced because of the ongoing heat spell and will start on May 2, the education department announced on Wednesday. The vacation will continue till June 15.

The schools in the hill districts of Darjeeling and Kalimpong are exempt from the order.


The summer vacation in government and aided schools usually starts in the third week of May.

Universities have been asked to decide whether they want to shift to online classes, bring forward the vacation or make suitable arrangements for the heat.

It is not yet clear whether the decision is binding on private schools.

In-person ICSE (Class X) and ISC (Class XII) exams as well CBSE Class X and XII exams started this week.

“Exams (ICSE and ISC) will continue,” said Gerry Arathoon, chief executive and secretary of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations. As for the state government’s notice, he said: “We will send the circular to the schools and say it is self-explanatory.”

During a media briefing at Nabanna in the afternoon, chief minister Mamata Banerjee told education secretary Manish Jain to inform private schools that the state government had decided to bring forward the summer vacation because “kids are suffering a lot because of the heat”.

A memo signed by the education secretary announcing the decision was copied to the president/secretary of the Central Board of Secondary Education, chief executive officer of the Council of the Indian School Certificate Examination and president of the state higher secondary council “for information and suitable necessary action”.

The memo, addressed to the presidents of the state secondary and primary education boards, said: “Due to heatwave and prevailing situation, it is advised to declare summer vacation in the schools under your administrative control with effect from 2nd May till 15th June or until further instructions, whichever is earlier, except for schools in hilly areas of Darjeeling and Kalimpong districts, where existing academic schedule may continue until further order.”

A communiqué addressed to the vice-chancellors of state-aided universities said: “You may like to consider taking suitable decision by either switching to online classes or by preponing summer vacation/summer recess or making suitable arrangements to combat prevailing weather conditions with effect from May 2 till the normal weather condition resumes.”

An alert from the India Meteorological Department, Kolkata, said heatwave conditions are likely to prevail in districts of south Bengal till April 30.

At the media briefing, the chief minister said: “I have received reports that the children eat tiffin standing in the heat. During their trip to school, they are suffering from nosebleeds because of the heat. They are not able to deal with the loo… I would like you (addressing the education secretary), if it is fine by you, to start the summer vacation from May 2.”

According to the chief minister, bringing forward the vacation might also prove beneficial if there is a fresh surge in Covid cases.

Many private schools said they had yet to take any decision on advancing the vacation and some of them are exploring the option of switching to online classes.

An official at the La Martiniere schools said: “We have yet to make any decision. If the need arises, we will run online classes till the summer break.”

Saugata Basu, secretary of the West Bengal Government Schoolteachers’ Association, said the announcement came in the way of conducting the first summative test for the students of classes I to X.

Last updated on 28.04.22, 06:57 AM

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