Sunday, January 26, 2014

'In the light of RTE, how am I supposed to discipline my students?'

'In the light of RTE, how am I supposed to discipline my students?'

Thursday, Dec 5, 2013, 0:19 IST | Place: Pune | Agency: DNA
DNA 
 
After dna reported Ornellas School's unique 'punishment' to its students who bunked school on the first day following Diwali vacations, Fr Jovian D'Mello wrote an elaborate letter explaining the rationale behind his action. He wants to know how else he could discipline them. Read his letter and let us know what you think
This has reference to the news article ‘Bunking off school on the first day costs Ornellas students a week’ on the front page and ‘Schools back Ornellas punishment’ on page 3, published in your daily on December 4, 2013.
When our school reopened in June 2013 after the summer vacations, we noticed that around 72 students in the High School section did not attend school on the first day of the new academic year 2013-14. Upon questioning them as well as their parents, we were given all sorts of silly excuses which were not acceptable to the school administration. However, no action whatsoever was initiated against the erring students who remained absent on the first day of school.
The clause 5:6 in the School calendar clearly stipulates the need for attending school on the first day of school for the First and Second terms.
In spite of that, on the last day when the school closed for Diwali vacations, the students were very clearly instructed that their presence on the first day after the vacations is compulsory and that no excuses whatsoever, barring genuine cases will be entertained.
The students were also instructed that those with genuine difficulty need to inform the principal either personally or through relatives, the inability of their concerned son/ward in not attending the first day of school after the vacations. They were warned that appropriate action will be initiated against those who fail to attend school on the first day.
On the first day i.e. November 18, 2013, a total of 209 students from the High School section, 97 from the English Primary School section and 46 from the Marathi Primary School section remained absent. The students from the English Primary School section and the Marathi Primary School section who reported to school the following day i.e. November 19, were not sent home.
Of the 209 students from the High School section who remained absent on the first day, the students with genuine difficulty who had informed the principal in advance the inability of their concerned son/ward in not attending the first day of school were allowed to attend school as and when they reported to school. Only 144 students were sent home and were allowed to attend classes after their parents came and met the principal giving valid reason/s for the absence of their son/ward on the first day.
And for those students who did not provide a valid reason, were suspended for two-and-a-half days i.e. on November 19 and 20, and half a day on November 21. On Nov 22, our school celebrated the Children’s Day, where a cultural programme was put up by the staff members of the school, where snacks were served to all the students — including those who were suspended.
With the stipulations, as laid down by the Right to Education Act enacted a couple of years ago where school authorities are not supposed to take any action against erring students, the school administration is finding it extremely difficult to ensure that discipline is maintained. There are numerous instances where students not only from our school but also from different schools of repute in the vicinity are often found at JJ Garden, Camp, Empress Garden and other such public places by bunking classes.
They leave their homes for school, but do not attend it. I along with the administrative staff take rounds to such public places and catch hold of our students and bring them to school and report the matter to their parents.
I am sure that the school administrations of various schools also have the same concern as regards discipline due to the stipulations laid down by the RTE Act. The school administration is totally helpless in the matter and to add to its woes, the education department does not allow the schools to fail students. Being fully aware of this fact, the students are least bothered about the attendance and discipline.
With the present scenario, and in spite of referring, arranging and conducting various sessions of counselling of such erring students with the full-time counsellor appointed in our school, I would be only too glad if you could kindly suggest and enlighten me better ways and means to reform erring students so as to ensure better discipline and attendance in schools, for greater glory of themselves, their respective families and the society at large.
Thanking you,
Yours faithfully,
Fr Jovian D’Mello
Headmaster, Ornellas High School, Pune

No comments:

Post a Comment