MADIKERI:“I spent the past eight days studying,” says Suresh B K, a high school student at Murnad in Kodagu district, when asked how he spent the holidays announced following floods. Ask him again, and he looks towards his teacher. He then smiles and reveals the truth, saying, “I played with my friends.”
Several schools in South Kodagu, which were not severely affected by the devastation, re-opened on Thursday and began the onerous effort of catching up with the syllabus in the midst of rains interspersed with spells of sunshine. As many as 61 schools, however, continue to remain closed for the time being as they are located in some of the worst affected areas or are housing victims of floods and landslides on their premises.
On Thursday, the attendance across schools was around 60-70%. It was a slow start to the day. But the sight of normalcy, after almost eight days of no classes, was a welcome one for teachers, staff and
“Almost 21 days of classes have been lost this year since June when the rains began. We have worked out a plan where we will increase the hours of study on Saturdays to compensate for the lost hours. In addition, students will have to come in for extra classes during the mid-term vacations which are usually given in October. But we will still give them holidays for festivals,” said Walter D’Mello, Deputy Director for Public Instruction (DDPI), Kodagu.
For the first day, however, all these thoughts were far away from everyone’s minds. “We are happy to see students back in the classrooms. More than half of the students registered at the school (65 out of 103) have shown up on the first day itself. In the coming days, we expect to see more of them return,” said Dechamma, in-charge head mistress at the Government High School, Murnad.
At Mekkeri, between Madikeri and Virajpet, a government school, which has been converted into a relief centre, also saw 50 students attending classes on Thursday. “There are children here from other schools also whom we have not met before,” said Priyanka, a 8th standard student.
For those who study at the schools which are still closed, catching up with the syllabus will be even tougher. For a lot of schools, there is much work to be done before they can start classes. “The entire campus is full of slush and will have to be cleared before we can even think of calling the students back,” said a staff member at a school in Madikeri. Internal tests and exams, scheduled for the end of August in most schools, will also have to be rescheduled.