Sunday, October 30, 2011

How many holidays?


         The educational institutions and other departments will be opening from today after about a week`s holidays on account of an important festival Diwali. One of the newspapers two column report is about this only. It shows that opening of the schools is good but there are some people who have already started speaking about the holidays which will be falling next week. It is good to be off from the routine work from some time but that should not become a routine in itself.  The problem faced by the schools is that it breaks the continuity of the teaching learning process. It has been suggested by many organizations that the number of holidays should be reduced and the schools should be given freedom of deciding the schedule of their holidays. If we take in account the duration of the schools even on normal days it is not more than five to six hours. More than half day is otherwise also off and as most of the festivals are celebrated in the evening so that can be done in the second half of the day . When it comes to celebrating the birth day of a saint or the leader that can be better done in the schools than at home. Somebody rightly said that in the name of the holiday to remember the great people parent enjoy that because during holidays they are not made to wake early in the morning for the sake of sending their children to the school. Many parents are of the opinion that so many holidays do not help the children at all but they remain quite in front of a very few who would object to the opening of the schools on very silly excuses. The government cites examples from other countries for so many things done by them but does not make the citizens realize that habit of working hard and regularly is key to the success in the life of the individual. When this topic was discussed with the students they were also of the opinion of having less number of holidays. They even asked why schools should not be left free to decide about the holidays. The RTE act makes it mandatory to ensure minimum number of working days during the year. If the time allotted to different topics by NCERT or CBSE or any other state board it is found that the minimum number of days required for completing the syllabus are more than two hundred. This does not include the days spent on conducting examination and the test etc. So if proper teaching learning and evaluation is to be carried out than the schools should have at least two hundred forty working days. This I am saying because during the year the school teachers remain on leave approximately for eight to ten days. Though most of the schools arrange for the substitute teacher but all know it well the real teaching learning suffers in such cases. New trend has been started under the pressure of some organizations to extend the summer holidays because extreme heat or winter breaks because of severe cold. It is very fair not to expose the children to such extreme conditions but then other holidays should be reduced to make up for the loss of the number of days due to extreme weather conditions. The other important thing is that the continuity of teaching learning is very important. The children tend to forget what they had leaned a week before because during the festival season they are not interested in getting close to the books. This time Rajasthan government asked all the teachers to give some holiday homework to the children during Diwali break. I do not how effective this directive has been and what would have motivated the children to complete the work given, if it was really given.  It would have been good if the children were allowed to come to school and learn more about the festival. Some people might not agree with my thoughts but they also understand that the children are not benefited by so many off during the year. The other problem faced is that in addition to the declared holidays many children remain on leave because of many other functions which are held in the family like during the marriage or house warming ceremony or many more such occasions. If we see the average number of days in case of many children it comes out to be one hundred seventy to one handed eighty days. Though the educational boards and the schools have made minimum number of days as mandatory but that is not followed strictly by most of them. This may be because of the future of the child to save a year. In many cases it might due to some genuine reason due to illness of thee child but in other cases that may not be the case. So all these factors must be taken into account and then decide about the holidays. The schedule of the winter and summer holidays should be decided in such a manner that there would be no need to extend the winter or summer break under extreme conditions. For example the winter break can be rescheduled to the first or second week of January instead of having it in the last week of December. Similarly the summer break can also be readjusted. The schools can also be given freedom of having less or more holidays as per the climatic conditions. The weather condition in the south reason is different than in the north or the east. The media can help a lot by not promoting the case of more holidays. The schools which want to teach the children should not be targeted and labeled as being against the interest of the children. The schools also care for their students and their teaching the children should not be considered otherwise. If the schools were not concerned about the future of the children then it was very easy to declare holidays more often than what they are doing. It is worth mentioning here that Sh. Azim Prem Ji has declared to open model quality schools in all the districts of the country. It is a welcome move and the man and his organization should be saluted for the initiative but all this would not yield desired result s if the model quality schools are also kept closed to almost half the number of days during the year. I hope my thoughts would be taken in the right spirit and not against anybody or any organization. Those who do not agree are free to do so but certain things which are very important for the future of the nation should not be compromised and all those who want to work more and and harder should not be discouraged. Let the people debate and decide.       

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