Ernakulam Collector leaves it late, ‘holiday’ turns nightmare for students and parents- The New Indian Express


By Express News Service

KOCHI: The Ernakulam district collector’s delay in declaring Thursday a holiday for educational institutions caused major confusion for school authorities, students and parents, and evoked criticism.
While the holiday announcement by collectors of four central districts had come on Wednesday itself, Renu Raj declared it through her official Facebook page only at 8.25 am on Thursday. By then, most students had reached their schools while many institutions had begun their classes.

Renu Raj, reportedly, decided against such a declaration as the rain had subsided on Wednesday evening and the Met Department withdrew the red alert for the district. But rain persisted on Wednesday night and Thursday morning while the Met Department issued a fresh ‘red alert’ for the district, forcing the collector to rethink the decision.

The collector said the holiday was declared to avoid accidents. “Schools that have already started functioning can continue. Students who have reached schools should not be sent back,” the collector said in another Facebook post, an hour after declaring the holiday. It created more confusion as many institutions had dispersed the classes by then.

“It was complete chaos. A parent who left for work after dropping off her child had to get down from the train midway through after she came to know about the holiday announcement, hired a taxi to reach the school and took her child back,” said an official with a private school in Kochi.

“It seems the state officials have only the government schools — which operate from 10am to 4pm — on their minds. They forget the private schools start functioning at 8.30am,” said the official. Sindhu, a resident of Palarivattom, said she came under heavy stress.

“My children had left at 7am. It was around 9am that we came to know about the holiday. Since my workplace is a little away from home, it took me some time to reach home. However, I came to know later that the school decided to stay open until the afternoon. We are not living in the 90s. We have systems to predict the intensity of rain well in advance. This type of confusion should be avoided in future,” she said.

The collector’s Facebook page was flooded with critical comments. “I’m an IT employee who has been working from home for the past three years. In the last two years, our children attended classes online. This facility is for us to use in such a situation. If the schools declare that classes would be held online for a week, the sessions will not be interrupted and there won’t be any risk of travelling. Why are we still not thinking outside of the box?” commented a parent.

“School buses ply and collect students from 6am. Parents generally drop them off at the bus stop and go to their offices, so dropping them back by a school bus is not practical. These notifications should be announced by 7am to make the process smooth,” said Indira Rajan, secretary general, National council of CBSE schools. Meanwhile, a petition was filed on Thursday before the Kerala High Court against the delayed declaration of holiday for schools by the Ernakulam district collector.