Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Schools in a fix over additional work days

Schools in a fix over additional work days

PANAJI: With Goa's academic calendar revised last year and school working days upped to 237, schools and teachers have been left in a quandary over how best to utilize the additional 17 days added for state schools, over the usual 220 working days as prescribed by national education norms like the Right to Education (RTE) Act.

To keep teachers busy on the additional days now available, once the final results for the year are declared, schools are organizing extra classes for students preparing to enter Class X and training in spelling and maths for other pupils, not knowing what better to do with the extra working days.

"The revised academic calendar has meant that Goa teachers are working 17 days more than those in the rest of the country. But we are trying to utilize it in the best possible manner. With Class X and XII exams advanced to March, students entering these classes get fewer instructional days. So teachers will utilize the additional days in April to teach students going to Class X some portion before the academic year begins. We have also decided to call students of Class III and IV to improve their skills in spelling and maths," a teacher from a Panaji school said.

Directives issued by the directorate of education (DoE) state that schools can only conduct the final examinations after April 8 during an academic year and final results cannot be declared before April 29.

"Most schools will hold their final exams from April 10 to 17 with one public holiday and a Sunday in between. It means that teachers get much lesser time to correct papers and compile results ie from April 18 to 28. In Class IX, for instance, one subject paper is for 100 marks. How can the teachers do justice to the students when they have to correct the papers and compile results within just 10 days," another Panaji teacher said.

Teachers said that many among them will also be caught up between school paper corrections and that for the Class X exams of the Goa Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education.

A circular issued for the academic year 2014-15 by the DoE indicates that there will be no respite for teachers from the revamped academic calendar for the upcoming year as well and this has now upset teachers.

"As per the RTE Act, secondary schools are required to complete 1,000 instructional hours. But if Goa schools function for five-and-half-hours a day for 220 days, they are completing 100 additional instructional hours which is not fair to the teachers or students," a South Goa teacher said.

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