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29 Jul 2017

North Point set to hold offsite class

St. Joseph's School (North Point)
TT, Calcutta, July 28: St. Joseph's School (North Point), one of the best-known schools in the hills, has decided to hold classes for students appearing for next year's board examinations in Siliguri and in a hall in Darjeeling from August 1.
The decision was announced a day after indications emerged that the ongoing indefinite strike in the hills is unlikely to be lifted soon.
"We have asked all the boarders who are studying in Classes X and XII to report in Siliguri on August 1. We will be holding classes on the Jesuit premises in Matigara (around 4km from Siliguri town)," said Fr. C.K. Shajumon, the rector of St Joseph's School (North Point). "We have made arrangements for their stay in Siliguri. All the boarders have agreed to come over," Fr. Shajumon added.
Boarders from Bhutan, Nepal, Sikkim, Hong Kong, Calcutta, Delhi, Jharkhand and the rest of the country have been asked to report in Siliguri.
For day scholars, the classes are expected to be held from the same day in Hayden Hall, a facility run by a non-profit organisation in Darjeeling. "We are already in touch with the teachers to start the classes," the rector said.
Out of the 1,070 students at North Point, 80 boarders and 140 day scholars study in Classes X and XII.
The other students will have to wait till the strike is called off. "The only option left for us is to shorten our winter vacations. We are looking at holding classes through December this year," Fr. Shajumon said.
In the hills, schools usually have a three-month-long winter vacation from the first week of December.
Some of the other reputable schools, which do not want to be named, are also trying to work out arrangements in Siliguri for students who would appear for the board exams next year. But a decision is expected to be taken only after August 1, when the next meeting of the Gorkhaland Movement Coordination Committee is scheduled to be held in Delhi.
"Although the Gorkha Janmukti Morcha leaders had made it clear yesterday that the strike would continue even after August 1, we still want to wait and then take decisions," said a teacher at a Kurseong-based school.
The education establishment is worried about the fallout of the strike on outstation students - the mainstay of the schools as they pay more than twice the fees of day-scholars. More than 5,000 boarders study in 45-odd ICSE schools in Darjeeling.
Students studying in schools affiliated to the state board are also among those affected. Many schoolteachers in Takdah, Rajbari and Haridashatta in Darjeeling are holding free classes.
Jyoti Kumar Rai, the assistant general secretary of the Morcha, today said the party would hold its central committee meeting in Darjeeling tomorrow.


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