Other States

Teachers, parents unhappy with extended vacation for West Bengal schools

Photo for representative purpose only.

Photo for representative purpose only. | Photo Credit: DEBASISH BHADURI

Teachers and guardians are unhappy with the prolonged summer vacation for schools that was declared by the West Bengal government citing heatwave conditions, saying the students were losing precious time due to this extended absence from the classroom.

“The normal practice is to have a two-week holiday from the fourth week of May to about the end of the first week of June. This year schools closed on May 2 and will reopen only on June 26 — that’s some eight weeks. It is an unnecessary loss of school days. Students of Classes 10 and 12 will suffer the most since they will have only three months of classes before we shut down again for Durga Puja and their pre-boards are usually scheduled for November,” said the principal of a Kolkata-based girls’ school, who did not wish to be named.

It was on June 13 that the State government issued a notification extending the vacation: “…as reports of a few death cases due to heat and humidity have been received, the competent authority has decided to extend the summer vacation till June 26 or until further instructions, whichever is earlier.”

Even though Catholic Church-run schools were set to reopen on June 20, in spite of the government order, on Monday they too — along with several private schools — in a last-minute change of mind decided to continue with online classes for another week. Most teachers and parents are of the opinion that all schools should have reopened on Monday, June 20, with the monsoon officially setting in last Friday.

“Teachers are definitely worried about completing the syllabus and conducting summative evaluation and, of course, about the children going back to forgetting their basics. We have first-generation learners who do not have any support system at home,” said the principal of another government school, on the condition of anonymity.

Extracurricular activities

She added: “Apart from the academics, they are missing out on all the extracurricular activities which play such an important part in their development. Such as physical education classes. Not to mention the midday meal served to students — some very poor children depend on it for sustenance and they are deprived of it.”

Rajeshwari Mitra, a writer and the mother of a teenaged school-going daughter, said: “The summer vacation was good enough. This extended vacation will do little good to children as far as their education is concerned. As we all know from past experiences, online classes are less effective than offline classes, especially for junior students. But what to do — we have to adjust with the decisions of higher authorities.”


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Printable version | Jun 20, 2022 5:58:16 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/teachers-parents-unhappy-with-extended-vacation-for-west-bengal-schools/article65545237.ece