Gangtok: September 27
Sikkim Government has decided to close all schools across Sikkim, till 10 October after Durga Puja or Dasain vacations. The decision was taken after taking stock of the damage in the schools after September 18 earthquake. Cracks and wreckage in the school buildings have created havoc among students.
Classes are already suspended in 779 government schools and some of the 325 private institutions since September 19. Though some unsuccessful attempts were made to reopen the schools in last couple of days. But it is raining in the state and this might cause some serious damage to the school buildings which are already adverse condition. So to prevent any such accident the government on Monday, officially announce a break till October 1, when the Puja holidays start.
“All government schools are closed till October 1. They will reopen on October 10 after the Puja holidays. We had tried for a couple of days to resume classes but could not do it as the schools were not in good condition and weather continues to remain bad. We don’t want to take any chances,” said state human resource development secretary C.S. Rao.
Rao said the schools would have to take extra classes in winter to make up for the loss. “Earlier it was scheduled that the schools would close on December 17 for winter break but now it will close only on December 22,” he said. “We have also conveyed our decision to the private schools but if some of them want to continue with the classes, we have no objection,” Rao said.
He said there were around 1.18 lakh students in the government schools and 24,000 in the 325 private institutions. Nearly 430 government schools have suffered major damage. Of them, 54 schools have totally or partially collapsed, according to a preliminary report collected by the department.
“The school heads will be available during this break to consult with the local panchayats and school managing committees to make alternative arrangement so that classes can start from October 10,” said Rao.
The chief minister has given Rs 50 lakh as immediate relief for restoration of the school buildings, he said.
(with The Telegraph inputs)
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