Cyclone Damage and Pandemic in Mind, Bengal Govt Decides to Keep Schools Shut Till June 30

Schools in West Bengal will remain closed till June 30, the state government announced on Wednesday.

Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said the decision was taken as several school buildings were damaged by cyclone Amphan in eight districts and there is also a possibility that some of the buildings may be used as quarantine centres for the migrant workers.

The government had earlier announced that schools will remain closed till June 10. The rescheduled dates for Class 12 state boards exams remain unchanged and they will be held on June 29, July 2 and July 6 as announced last week, Chatterjee said addressing a press conference in Bikash Bhavan here.

He said the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education has been asked to put in place all necessary precautions for holding the exams in 1,058 examination centres.

"If necessary, the buildings of some colleges can also be used for the higher secondary exams," he added. The cyclone has caused damage to 462 examination centres and alternative venues are being scouted, the minister said.

These affected exam centres are located in Kolkata, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, East Midnapore, East Burdwan, Nadia, Hooghly and Howrah districts.

The minister, who earlier in the day met senior officials of the education department, said as per preliminary estimate the damages to educational institutions, including colleges, due to the cyclone has been pegged at Rs 700 crore and the department will soon be submitting a report to the state government for help.

To make up for the prolonged disruption in classes, the government will ask coordinators to ensure that teachers take classes of students at home if they live in the same locality, he said.

"We will work out the modalities in this regard very soon," Chatterjee said.

The department was also actively considering the proposal to provide free textbooks to the cyclone-affected students, particularly those in the higher secondary level, he said.