Representational Image | Photo: Mathrubhumi
Thiruvananthapuram: Half of the total number of Saturdays in the next academic year will turn out to be working days for schools, in case the government instructs school authorities to ensure a minimum of 220 working days. A suggestion in this regard was made in the draft academic calendar presented by the Director of Public Education at a meeting. Earlier, general education minister V Sivankutty had expressed his support for the decision, at a press conference.
The previous academic year had nearly 200 working days, unlike the pandemic-hit years.
Classes will be held for students on the three Saturdays in the months of June, September, October, January, February, and March. In the same way, two Saturdays of August, November, and December will be working days as well. Meanwhile all the Saturdays in the month of July will be declared working days. Overall, there will be 28 working Saturdays if the new calendar comes in place.
Meanwhile, a total of 221 working days have been suggested for VHSE. Only 192 working days have been recommended for the higher secondary schools. It should be noted that the Right to Education Act stipulates a minimum of 1,000 academic hours every year.
While the government is trying to justify its decision by saying that all it is trying to do is ensure enough learning opportunities for students, the teachers associations argue that the new decision will burden the students and tamper the overall quality of education.
KHSTU opined that six working days in a week will have an adverse impact on the physical-mental health of the students.
“Since new syllabus or textbooks haven’t been introduced, the decision to introduce extra working days should have ideally rested with the academic council,” said KHSTU general secretary Panakkad Abdul Jaleel.
“This is a unilateral decision. If most of the Saturdays are declared as working days, it will affect the functions of NSS, NCC programs which are scheduled on those days,” said AHSTA general secretary S Manoj.
“At present, there is ample time for finishing the portions. Under such circumstances, I don’t really understand the logic behind turning Saturdays into working days,” says HSSTA General Secretary Anil M George.