With Punjab and Karnataka already having announced summer vacation due to the coronavirus outbreak, other states are working on academic calendar and deliberating on various measures, including advancing the summer break, to minimise academic losses.
The Punjab government has announced a month-long summer break from April 11, ending on May 10. The summer vacation in the state usually starts by the end of May. According to Punjab Education minister Vijay Inder Singla, the decision was taken to compensate the academic loss being faced by students due to the lockdown.
“Education being a state subject, states are free to decide their own academic calendar and schedule for summer break. They also need to keep in mind the coronavirus situation in the particular state,? a senior HRD Ministry official said. Karnataka, had announced summer vacation in March itself when schools had to be closed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Delhi government has sought suggestions on whether schools in the national capital could conduct classes during summer break to make up for the academic loss due to the coronavirus-triggered lockdown.
“This needs to be well thought of that can schools conduct classes during summer break to make up for academic losses caused during the lockdown. We are inviting suggestions on the issue,” Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said.
“We also have keep ground realities in mind like summer heat causing discomfort to students. Rather than a decision being taken by the authorities in this regard, we want to know parents’ thoughts about it and the feasibility,” he added during an online interactive session with parents.
According to a survey by online platform Localcircles.com, 81 per cent parents are in favour of schools being shut through May and reopening on June 1. Over 10,000 parents were interviewed for the survey.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) also wrote to states and union territories last week to examine the issues of school fees payment and salaries to teachers “sensitively and holistically” keeping in mind the interest of all stakeholders.
While Delhi Government has announced that schools will not be allowed to hike fees during the period and only tuition fee will have to be paid, the Maharashtra government has said parents can complain to district education officers if schools demand fees during lockdown period.
While the Gujarat government had last week announced that private schools will not hike fees for a year, the West Bengal government had appealed to schools to refrain from hiking fees. The lockdown, which was first enforced from March 25 to April 14, has been extended by the Centre to May 3 to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.
“Keeping in view the present situation of the countrywide lockdown, and difficulties being face by all stakeholders in the school education system due to the COVID-19 global pandemic, it is requested that the state governments may examine the issue of lumpsum payment of school fees and teacher’s salaries sensitively and holistically considering the interest of all stakeholders concerned,” CBSE secretary Anurag Tripathi said in a letter to chief secretaries of states and Union territories.
The death toll due to COVID-19 rose to 640 and the number of cases to 19,984 in the country on Wednesday, according to the Union Health Ministry.
The number of active COVID-19 cases is 15,474, while 3,869 people have been cured and discharged, and one patient has migrated, the ministry said. The total number of cases includes those of 77 foreign nationals.