As several school buildings have been damaged by the cyclone Amphan, the West Bengal government has decided to keep schools closed till June 30. Some of them are also being used as isolation centres for migrant labourers to contain the spread of COVID-19.
The state education minister Partha Chatterjee recently said that 462 schools of the 1,058 schools in 8 districts of Bengal that were designated as examination centres have been damaged due to the cyclone.
In several schools in Kolkata, Hooghly, Howrah, Nadia, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, East Midnapore and East Burdwan, classrooms and toilets have been badly damaged. According to a preliminary estimate by the education department, there has been a loss of Rs 700 crore and it is likely to increase to Rs 1,000 crore. The chief minister Mamata Banerjee has sought reports on the damage of educational institutions. The government has also appealed to corporate to take up repair work of schools as CSR projects.
Chatterjee added that he also held a meeting with Mohua Das, president of the West Bengal Higher Secondary Council. “We have decided to utilise colleges for conducting board examinations, if required. The HS Council has taken up a task to increase the number of venues to conduct exams in order to adhere to social distancing norms and other guidelines issued by the government,” he said. The university and class XI examinations will be held as per schedule. “The HS Council will accommodate a maximum number of students at the centres near their place or arrange for transport facility,” he said.
It was earlier announced by the Bengal government that the schools will remain closed till June 10. The state government is also considering a proposal to provide free books to higher secondary students who have been affected by the cyclone. “We will ask teachers to take classes at home if they live in the same locality so that the learning process is not disrupted,” he said.