New Delhi: Government schools in Delhi have been asked to remain closed between January 1 and 15 while private schools will be advised to follow suit as the national capital battles dangerous levels of pollution worsened by the winter.
The move comes amid deliberations over a proposal to allow cars with odd and even numbers on alternate days in the first two weeks of the new year to curb air pollution.
Among the plans part of the experimental system is a proposal to rope in 6,000 private buses to run as public transport in the city. Since about 2,000 of them will be school buses, a call has been made to close the schools during the period.
"We will only take decisions after consulting schools. We have 26 lakh children in Delhi schools, they are big stakeholders. There has been a proposal to shut schools between 1st to 15th January. We are considering it," Delhi education minister and deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia had said on Friday.
The Education Department had also issued a circular dated November 27, before the announcement of the odd-even system, asking government schools to extend their winter breaks till January 15.
Private schools contacted by NDTV said they had not received an official order yet but since most of their buses are set to be drafted by the transport department, they may suspend classes till January 15.
"Winter breaks are often extended for fog and the cold. It won't be a problem," said one school official.
Many private schools in Delhi have already announced a slew of measures to protect students from the toxic air quality in the national capital, including advisories for the use of anti-pollution masks and suspending outdoor activities.