Schools in six border districts of Punjab have been hit following evacuation orders from the Punjab government.
Teachers too have been told to not to switch off their phones. They could be called in anytime for relief duties in camps setup for evacuees.
As per orders, a total of 267 government schools within a 10-km distance from border have been ordered shut till October 2. Education minister Daljit Singh Cheema confirmed to The Indian Express that the department has also decided to postpone the inauguration of the 50th anniversary of creation of Punjab Suba (State) celebration, which was scheduled for October 3.
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“The month long celebrations has various programmes for school children but we do not want border area children to suffer. They have practised hard for it and thus will be given chance to participate. We are yet to decide the new date,” said Cheema.
“We have also decided to postpone district and state level sports tournaments as border area students are also participants,” he added.
However, the notification did not reach certain parents who showed up at some of these schools on Friday for a parent-teacher meeting. Teachers said they could not communicate it to the parents due to connectivity issues.
“Yesterday all students had left when we got the orders for school closure. There is lot of issue in phone signals here and many parents were not informed. Some poor families who have not evacuated despite government orders reached school today. Teachers also reached early as they knew some parents will come and may panic,” said a teacher from Fazilka
Meanwhile, teachers reported at district headquarter education offices and marked their attendance on Friday.
“We are hoping the situation return to normal at the earliest. Already it is difficult to enroll students in the border belt as they are too poor. If this new crisis continues for long, dropouts will increase. Most of our students are children of farmers or farm laborers. Every year, floods damage crops but this year they were hopeful of golden paddy harvest as there was no floods. But this crisis is worse than floods. In case of huge economic losses, it will affect children’s education also as many of them discontinue school education and start helping parents in earning to run the family,” said Lovejeet Grewal, head teacher, government primary school, Dona Nanka village of Fazilka, just 800 meters away from border.
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