Excessive summer heat over the past few days has terribly affected children’s study in schools as they say they have struggled to perfectly concentrate in classroom in such weather.
But teachers argue that they will not be able to cover the syllabus if holidays are announced.
Principal of Ideal High School in Dhaka Dr Shahan Ara Begum told the Dhaka Tribune: “Unless the government announces shutdown of schools, we cannot make the decision. Our school will go into summer vacation on May 11, which will continue till 27.
“After that, there is Ramadan holiday in June-July. If we announce holidays now because of heat, the teachers will be unable to cover all the lessons in the syllabus. However, we have electric generator so that students do not suffer during power outages.”
The West Bengal government in neighbouring India on April 9 announced that government schools in the state would be closed from April 11 as soon as the Meteorological Department issued a heat wave warning for Kolkata and other districts, Times of India reported. The vacation was later extended till June 17.
Faria Amin, a third-grader at Morning Glory School and College in Savar, said summer vacation in her school had been preponed due to heat.
“Attendance in the class has been poor for the last few days. The intolerable heat is making children sick. The school will go into summer vacation in June. The authority is yet to take a decision if the school will be closed earlier due to heat,” said Nabila Bhuban Zaima, a teacher at Masco School Kanchan in Narayanganj’s Rupganj.
Joint Secretary of the Education Ministry AKM Zakir Hossain Bhuiyan told the Dhaka Tribune the ministry was aware of the fact that students were facing problems due to torrid heat.
“The government has its plan to deal with the situation. We are also aware of the shutdown of schools in West Bengal. If temperature rises more, we will take appropriate measures so that students do not have to endure the terrible heat,” he added.
Also, the sweltering heat has caused children to catch seasonal diseases, including fever, cold, diarrhoea, sore throat, dysentery and pneumonia.
According to health specialists, such diseases – many of them water-borne – are mostly affecting children and people who work outside.
Arnab Mahmud, a second-grader at Ahsania Mission School and College in Dhaka’s Mirpur, suddenly fell ill with viral fever two days ago.
“As I took my son to hospital, doctors said he got viral fever because of scorching summer heat. They suggested keeping him at home and giving him pure drinking water as well as fruits to eat,” said Arnab’s father Abul Kalam Azad.
According to the ICDDRB, 465 diarrhoea patients were admitted on April 10 while 445 on 11, 437 on 12 and 165 on 13.
The Directorate General of Health Services said 5,141 diarrhoea cases had been recorded in the second week of April in 10 districts across Bangladesh.
“In this season, children mostly catch cold and fever. We are receiving child patients with viral fever every day. During this time of the year, parents should be careful about their children. They should ask children to avoid having ice cream and playing outside,” said Asharf-ul Haque Kajol, professor at Dhaka Medical College Hospital’s infant and child department.
“Also, children should be advised to drink a lot of water and eat vegetables and fruits. If children vomit or are affected by diarrhoea, parents should immediately take them to doctor,” he added.
Child specialists also suggested keeping children away from heat and keeping them at home as much as possible.