Published: 23rd April 2022
Turn it up! Heat wave raises questions on need for physical classes in Odisha
Morning classes from 6 am to 10:30 am for Classes 1-8 are of little help as the impact of the heat wave starts from 8 am onwards and intensifies as the day progresses
Amid prevailing intense heat wave conditions sweeping across Sundargarh district, the functioning of schools and colleges has posed many queries. With the mercury hovering between 41-44 degree Celsius, school and college students are risking themselves to attend physical classes as they have to travel long distances in the searing heat even as cases of students collapsing on the way due to heat stroke are being reported from various blocks in the district.
Sources said that students in both rural and urban pockets usually attend schools located in a distance of one to five km. Majority of them walk to and fro under the blazing sun. Morning classes from 6 am to 10:30 am for Classes I to VIII are of little help as the impact of the heat wave starts from 8 am onwards and intensifies as the day progresses.
The heat wave apart, the decision to continue Classes I to VIII, especially when students of these classes (6-14 yrs) were given promotion en masse on April 20, has raised many questions. So what are they exactly learning at schools? Reliable sources said, they are being taught old courses and one can imagine the seriousness of both teachers and students, once the latter are already promoted. The only benefit is that they are served mid-day meals at 9 am.
For teachers, it is no less hectic and physically toiling, most of whom are reportedly travelling one way distance up to 50 km in buses. School authorities confide that there is urgent need to reconsider the decision in view of the heat wave, adding the curtailed summer vacation scheduled for June 6-16 should be advanced. The concern is similar for physical classes of Plus-II and degree colleges which are continuing simultaneously with semester examinations for degree courses. While official timing is till 11 am, classes are going up to 2 pm to make up for the time lost in the pandemic.
Moreover, the Higher Education Department has made the stay of college teaching staff mandatory for seven hours with biometric attendance in force. Sundargarh MLA Kusum Tete said both School and Mass Education and Higher Education departments are oblivious of the ground realities and suffering of teachers and students. With several schools lacking electricity, the prevailing heat wave is only making things worse for physical classes "Both SME and HE departments are oblivious of the ground realities and suffering of teachers and students. With several schools lacking electricity, the prevailing heat wave is only making things worse for physical classes," said Kusum.