Schools in Bihar's flood-prone districts to have monsoon vacation

Decision to hold classes in summers prompted by loss of working days owing to floods

 
By Alok Gupta
Published: Monday 17 August 2015

Laliteshwar Prasad Singh

Bihar's education department has decided on a monsoon vacation for schools in place of the usual summer vacation in 14 flood-prone districts of the state. The move is aimed at maintaining academic calendar of 210 working days, specified under the Right to Education Act. The state education department was struggling with maintaining the academic calendar because summer vacations often extended till September in the flood-prone districts.

Amarjeet Sinha, principal secretary for state education, said the monsoon vacation will be given from the current academic year. “Students were missing out on classes for two months in these districts,” Sinha added.

The districts most prone to floods are situated in the Kosi region.

Summer vacation in government schools last from May 26 to July 7. Monsoon approaches in the first fortnight of July and floods start beginning of August when schools often get converted to flood relief centres. So classes used to be suspended till end of September.

Read about Kosi floods

 
According to the new decision, schools in flood-prone districts will have monsoon vacation from August 1 to September 1; flood waters start receding end of August.

Community involvement

The idea of monsoon vacation was initiated by the state government around two years ago, but it could not be implemented because of lack of community involvement.

This year, teachers and principals appointed by the state government held series of meeting with the village residents.

In the meetings, majority of the parents said they would agree to summer school if classes are held in the afternoon.

“Parents complained that children play in the scorching sun in the afternoon, leading to heat strokes,” said Sinha.
 
After deliberations, the education department decided to accede to the demands of the community hold classes in the afternoon.

Nutrition concerns

People in villages say that school children forego their nutrition for over two months as schools stay closed even after summer vacation ends because of floods



Holding classes in summers would also address the the problem of under-nutrition among the poor, said officials. Earlier, students were deprived of midday meals for the entire summer and monsoon months because of vacations extending till September.

Rajendra Jha, resident of Mahisi village in Saharsa, said school children went without mid-day meals for nearly two months. Holding classes in summer means they would get their meals in this period, he said.

There are about 380 villages between the Kosi embankments. Around 70 schools in these villages are either converted into flood shelter or get marooned in monsoons because flooding and approach roads getting washed away.
 

 


Report: Flood risk analysis in the Kosi river basin, north Bihar using multiparametric approach of Analytical Hierarchy Process (AHP)

Report: Bihar floods 2008: needs assessment report

Feature: Institutional Dysfunction and Challenges in Flood Control: A Case Study of the Kosi Flood 2008

Feature: The colonial state, zamindars and the politics of flood control in north Bihar (1850-1945)

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