As Pune remained tense on Tuesday, amid protest rallies and reports of a Maharashtra bandh on Wednesday, many city schools declared a precautionary holiday and the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) cancelled an exam scheduled to be held on Wednesday.
An official communication, sent via the public relations department of the SPPU, stated that an MCom exam was scheduled to be held in Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik districts on Wednesday. But in view of the “serious situation” in some parts of the state, the university administration has decided to postpone the exam. The revised dates for the exam would be declared later.
Meanwhile, most city schools that had opened after Christmas vacations have declared a holiday on Wednesday. Praneet Mungali, director of Sanskriti Schools, said all branches of the school would remain closed on Wednesday. “We don’t have any concrete information yet and are going by news reports, which indicate that the situation is grim. We discussed this with police… and they informed us that there have been sporadic incidents of violence in some areas of Pune. We do not want to take any risks with the safety of our students… As a precautionary measure, we have decided to keep the school closed tomorrow,” said Mungali.
Binita Poonekar, principal of the Army Public School in Camp, also confirmed that the school would remain closed on Wednesday. Parents of students who go to city-based schools like Kothari National School, Vibgyor School and Trinity School confirmed that these schools have also declared a holiday. Nafisa Banatwalla, parent of a student of EuroSchools, confirmed receiving a message from the school principal.
“The message states that due to the ‘Maharashtra bandh’ called tomorrow, January 3, the head office has informed all centres in Pune to keep schools and day care centres closed for safety reasons,” she said. Aisha Shaikh, a teacher at RIMS School, NIBM Road, also confirmed that the school has declared a precautionary holiday and all parents have been informed about the same.
Some schools that were scheduled to re-open on Wednesday have postponed the move by a day. Rashida Bohri, whose child studies at Lexicon School, said an email on Tuesday evening informed parents that due to a possible Maharashtra bandh, the school would re-open on Thursday, January 4. A parent whose child goes to The Orchid School, which was supposed to re-open on January 3, said they received a message at 9 pm to confirm that there would be no school that day.
Since the situation was unclear, some schools sent e-mails to parents to apprise them of the situation, but left the final decision to them. The Saplings Nursery School sent an e-mail to all parents, stating that they were watching news reports of stone-pelting and it was possible that the violence could escalate.
“At the time of writing this e-mail, we have heard reports of a ‘bandh’ being declared, but we have no first-hand information about the same. Please remember, in case of an emergency situation like a bandh, it may not be possible for us to take a timely decision on whether or not to close schools or even inform you of the same. On such days, keeping in mind the safety of your child, you may use your judgement about sending your child to school,” reads the e-mail.
An event on Wednesday organised by the state Women and Child Welfare Department, the Education Department and the Pune district collectorate, which was to be attended by Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis and approximately 25,000 students, was also cancelled. Shailaja Darade, primary education officer, confirmed that the event had been cancelled and the schools had been informed.