Thiruvananthapuram: Hartals and agitations are telling on the academic calendar of schools in the state. The educational institutions fear that they would not get the stipulated number of working days due to the undeclared holidays forced upon them. This week itself there were two undeclared holidays following the ABVP’s education bandh on Monday and the motor vehicles strike on Wednesday.
The schools in Kannur had to be closed on Friday last due to the hartal organised by the BJP. The Right to Education Act, 2009 states that schools must provide 200 working days for class I to V and 220 for class VI to VIII.
The Kerala education rules also have recommended 220 educational days, excluding the days of examinations in every academic year. The Central Board of Secondary Education wanted 220 working days a year. This could not be followed due to the political and social situation in the state during the past many academic years.
While in the past couple of years, the CBSE had adopted a lenient academic pattern, it has now become tougher with a schedule particularly in classes 9 and 10. The general education department had to convert six Saturdays—August 8, September 6 and 23 and October 21 last year and January 6 and 27, 2018 as working days for high schools in the state syllabus to ensure the required working days.
In 2016, the Kerala High Court had directed the state government to ensure 220 academic days excluding examinations and co-curricular activities from the subsequent academic year as prescribed under the relevant acts. Justice K. Vinodchandran issued the direction on a petition filed by P.T. Suresh, who claimed that his two children studying in different schools were not getting proper education as they were not functioning for the number of days prescribed under the Kerala education rules.
Ms Indira Rajan, general secretary, Kerala State CBSE School Managem-ent Association, told Deccan Chronicle that apart from state hartals, there have been many district-level and area specific hartals affecting the working days. With the practical and model examinations round the corner, this has upset all the schedules planned by schools.
Many programmes and curricular activities planned according to the calendar would have to be rescheduled due to hartals. The arrangements for the state-level CBSE-ICSE school meet on January 30 and 31 have also suffered due to the hartals, Ms Rajan said.
Mr Jyothis Chandran, chairman, Jyothis Centr-al School, Kazhakuttom, said that from August 2017 to the current month, at least one day has been lost in the first week of every month due to various agitations. In September, there were many holidays, including Ramadan and Onam. The result was that there were only very few working days that month.
Education Minister C. Raveendranath has been suggesting at least 200 to 210 working days in each academic year. This year, many schools would get only less than 175 working days, said Mr Chandran.
However, DPI K.V. Mohankumar claimed that the state syllabus schools would complete 201 academic days. During the last many years, the academic days were less than 180. This year, 135 days have been completed in the first two terms. There are another 66 days in the third term. In view of the days lost due to hartals, four days have been included in the third term, Mr Mohankumar said.
The schools are not allowed to conduct classes during vacations to make up for the lost days. The Kerala State Commission for Protec-tion of Child Rights, the Kerala State Human Rights Commission and the DPI have issued orders against such classes. The CBSE, Thiruvana-nthapuram regional office, directed against holding classes for primary and class V students on Saturdays. The Child Rights Commission had earlier directed schools not to conduct classes for class I to V on Saturdays....