Kozhikode: The floods have united the people of Kerala but the schools in the state are a divided lot when it comes to holding the annual youth festival, the only platform for them to showcase their artistic and literary skills. While the state government has decided to go ahead with the annual jamboree, albeit sans fanfare and pomp, the schools under the Central Bureau of Secondary Education (CBSE) have opted put on the plea that the schools cannot afford to spare more time as they have already lost several academic days. The state government, which has decided to cut down the number of days for the festival from five to three at the Alappuzha edition in December, was also prompted by several factors including grace marks awarded to the winners. The additional marks would help them get admissions in prestigious institutions for higher studies.
CBSE says the floods have dented the academic calendar badly and the schools have hardly the time to focus on academics this year rather. "It is now time to focus on the academics as the state has gone through one of the worst calamities ever," CBSE regional director Tarun Kumar told DC. "everyone in the system-- the schools, the teachers, the students and even the parents who were affected by the floods-- require a lot of time to come out of this shock. Students have missed several classes as they faced issues back- to-back after the academic year started. This is the reason why we decided to back off from the Kalolsavam this year and directed schools to seriously focus on academics and finish the syllabus as soon as possible."
Mr Tarun Kumar said CBSE has not dropped the fest completely. "We have instead suggested to the schools to conduct the festival in a minimal level as a fund raising programme for the Chief Minister's Distress Relief Fund," he said.
The CBSE in a circular directed the schools to remit the amount earmarked for the Kalolsava towards CMDRF. It has also asked Sahodayas to contribute their reserve amounts to the fund. The CBSE circular gave the managements the choice to conduct additional events to raise fund for the flood-affected areas.
"It has to be noted that the CBSE students have several limitations for taking up extracurricular activities or taking to an open platform to showcase their talents," said N.G. Valsarajan, a member of Sahodaya School Complex. To make it worse, they get no recognition for the efforts they put in. "Kalolsavam or art fest we conduct is the only platform for them to showcase their talent or at least boost their interests in subjects other than the academics. The CBSE must find an option to conduct these art festivals, considering the importance of extracurricular activities."
Malappuram Sahodaya president Abdul Nazar has cautiously welcomed the move. "On one side, the decision to take Kalolsavam off CBSE calendar this year is an apt one as the students have already missed several classes due to the repeated calamities we faced including the outbreak of Nipah virus that affected many parts of Malabar. But this must not be made a regular practice in the coming academic year also, as this is the only opportunity for our students to showcase their talents other than those in academics," he added.
The CBSE school students and their parents have, meanwhile, urged the government to take steps to ensure that the students do not lose out on grace marks. "A lot of time and efforts are put in for each Kalolsavam conducted by CBSE , in spite of knowing this is not going to bring us any rewards in return, while the state school students enjoy the recognition in the form of grace marks" said Karthika Unnikrishnan, student of Kendriya Vidyala, Kozhikode. "We urge the government to introduce grace marks for the CBSE students as well:"
The state government, meanwhile, said the festival, to be held December 7 to 9, will hold competitions in stage items at the state level while off-stage events will be conducted at district level.
The items that get A- grade at the district level will be evaluated at the state level to decide state-level grades....