Heatwave more acute in other states, but why Bengal has longer summer vacations: Minister
New Delhi, Apr 30: Union Minister of State for Education, Subhas Sarkar Friday wondered why schools in West Bengal have been given long summer vacation this year by the government by advancing the date of closure when offline classes are on in states where heat wave conditions are worse. The states where the weather conditions are hotter have not declared any summer vacation till now, he told reporters here, news agency PTI said.
"The heat wave conditions are more acute in many other states but they have not taken any step like Bengal. Then why are schools being closed for summer vacation for such a long time from May 2 to mid June?" he said to a question. Sarkar, who was asked to comment on the preponement of summer vacation in schools by Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee earlier this week, however, clarified that the state has the prerogative to decide on this issue. The union minister also said what he had said on the issue was his own view.
Schools in Bengal reopened in mid February this year after almost two-years due to the COVID pandemic. They had opened briefly for upper classes in November 2021 but had closed again due to the third wave of the contagion. Asked to comment on the allegations by West Bengal Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar that the Vice-Chancellors of state universities are not attending the meeting called by him as the Chancellor of state universities, Sarkar said this was unfortunate.
"I will have to get information about reports that the VCs are not attending meets called by the governor, I will have to know in detail," he added. On the recent controversy about Visva Bharati University, where a student's unnatural death triggered agitation by students, Sarkar said, "There is politics in every issue of the central university. This cannot be accepted. We are concerned about Visva Bharati. "We don't want that the heritage of the university founded by Tagore gets diminished in any way," he added.
The union minister said that almost all states are evaluating the New Education Policy, 2020, draft which is holistic and liberal in nature. "Let West Bengal be associated with NEP 2020 or we will be trailing behind. The claim that it is aimed at saffronising is wrong as also the notion that it will help in privatising the education sector," he added.