– Dipta Joshi
The Maharashtra state education department has cut short this year’s Diwali break to just five days instead of the usual 21-day break. According to a government resolution (dated November 5), this year schools have been granted Diwali break of five days from 12-16 November.
In the wake of Covid-19 pandemic schools have been conducting online classes of maximum four hours a day since June 15. Pre-primary to grade II students have had online classes since July 24. Thus, Diwali break-the longest holidays in the state extending up to 21 days each year has been cut-short to ensure schools can complete their syllabus for the current academic year.
The Secondary School Code, (Section 52.2) limits the number of holidays in an academic year to 76 days while the number of teaching days have been set at 200 days for grades I-V and 220 days for grades VI-VIII.
Ironically, while teachers across the state have been complaining of having to rush through the syllabus in the absence of the regular eight-hour school day, they aren’t too happy about the government’s latest move either. “The rules mandate a minimum of 18 days break during this festive season. Considering the pandemic, we did expect a reduction of a few holidays but getting a break of just five days is too little. Online teaching and learning have been necessary to continue education but it has definitely not easy for both students as well as teachers. Educators across the state are still struggling to learn and adapt to the use of new technology on such a large scale and were looking forward to the long break,” says Prashant Redijj, spokesperson, Mumbai principal’s association.
For some time now, teachers from government-aided educational institutions have been complaining of being over-worked during the pandemic. Earlier, a government resolution (dated September 25) asked teachers to upload weekly reports regarding online classes on a government portal tracking the reach and impact of online classes. Teachers have been asked to upload details of students attending online classes, of students who have been contacted offline or via phone (using WhatsApp, etc.) for lessons and those that could not be contacted at all. Teachers are also expected to upload learning outcomes on the portal.
Also read: Odisha schools to remain closed this yearNews, States