Amid heatwave in Delhi, teachers’ groups appeal to DoE to call off summer camps

Referring to the recurring heatwaves in Delhi, teachers’ associations have appealed to various authorities that the ongoing camp in government schools during summer vacations be called off. However, education department officials said that these are required to address the students’ learning needs.

Summer vacations in Delhi began on Wednesday, and summer camps are being held in all government schools for classes III to IX from 7.30 am to 11 am. All students have been encouraged to attend these camps, the focus of which is on foundational reading and numeracy after the two-year-long gap due to the pandemic, and parents had been asked to submit No Objection Certificates to their schools for this. These are scheduled to continue to till June 18 while summer vacations end on June 28.

The Government Schools’ Teachers Association and the Loktantrik Adhyapak Manch wrote to the Directorate of Education to reconsider this.

“Children need to be protected from the unsuitable weather, but here, in the name of catching up, the Department wants all of them to commute in the sweltering heat and harsh hot winds, and sit and learn in heated up classrooms. It is to be noted that in many schools, the school buildings are not good enough to counter the extreme weather… It is unthinkable that young children are to be forced to spend several hours in such classrooms during Summer vacation when they cannot even think of going out in the open ground after 8 am due to the heat,” they have written.

On Thursday, the Nagar Nigam Shikshak Manch also wrote to the Delhi Commission for Protection of Child Rights requesting its intervention, adding that summer vacations are the right of children.

“Fire is raining from Delhi’s skies and everyone is distressed by the heat, sweat and thirst. Economically weak students study in government schools and find it difficult to procure nutritious food for the children because of high prices. It is feared that these small children might fall ill because of this extreme heat,” read their representation.

However, education department officials said that the summer camp is essential for helping students get back on track after the extended school closures. The new session started on April 1, and these grades have not begun with their syllabus and the focus is just on foundation learning.

“The timings have been set such that it will get over in the morning to avoid the worst of the heat. The entire idea is to address the learning gap of the last two years, another interruption will make this difficult. We have also conducted summer camps in the past years,” said an official.

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