An association of school heads has appealed to the chief minister to reconsider the decision to extend the summer vacation, pointing out that hot and humid conditions prevail in Bengal even during autumn.
“Ours is a state characterised by hot and humid climate even during autumn. Students are used to such climatic conditions and they are even working in fields/shops during the closure (of the school),” says the letter signed by Chandan Maity, general secretary of the Advanced Society for Headmasters and Headmistresses.
A member of the association said they mentioned the state’s weather pattern because the education department had cited “reports of a few deaths cases due to heat and humidity” as the reason for extending the summer vacation by 11 days.
“Last year, the state sizzled during Durga Puja in October. We enjoy favourable weather only from November to February. Going by the logic of the education department, we should have school only for four months,” said Maity, headmaster of Krishnachandrapur High School, Mathurapur, South 24-Parganas.
The association pleaded with the government to let the schools decide on the duration of the vacation.
It has said in the letter that the closure of schools for in-person classes for two years because of Covid has resulted in huge learning gaps among students, which can only be addressed through continuous on-campus sessions.
The absence of in-person classes for almost two years has left many children lagging in terms of learning and teachers should begin from where the students are stuck, instead of only focusing on the syllabus, economist Abhijit Vinayak Banerjee had said in February while speaking at the release of the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2021 for rural Bengal.
The report, based on a survey conducted among students of government schools, had revealed a significant drop in children’s ability to read letters and paragraphs and do arithmetic, compared with 2018.