Let there be unadulterated holidays

 ‘What’s in a holiday?’ (Knowledge, November 4) raises an ever-disturbing factor pertaining to holidays. Neither parents nor the students look forward to holidays as students carry forward tons of homework to be attended to during the so-called ‘holiday’. An English dictionary defines holiday as “a period in which break is taken from work or studies for rest, travel, or recreation.” Going by the definition, the word holiday has become a misnomer studded as it is with luggage of homework. Gandhi, in one of his articles in Young India said, “Often do thoughtless teachers prescribe lessons to be done during the vacation. This, in my opinion, is in any case, a vicious habit. Vacation is just the period when students’ minds should be free from the routine work and be left for free and original development.”

Shakespeare says, “A while to work and after, holiday.” How can we call something ‘holiday’ if it is devoid of fun, recreation, enjoyment, and relief from work? Students are human beings first and exam-oriented robots later.

 PROF SUHAS PATWARDHAN, Badlapur

Educating the girl child

‘Educating the girl child’ (Knowledge, November 4) is an interesting article that dwells on the challenging task of getting the impoverished, the abandoned and the neglected children into the classroom.  The Right to Education is assumptive in that it decrees that all children should get the opportunities for education but in reality all do not get the benefits, particularly, the ones mentioned above.  Basic intelligence is inherent in every child and so efforts need to be made to bring street children and drop-outs into a learning system. and for doing this there cannot be anything better than the Open University in which one can become a graduate without passing 10+2 or even class 10 and so the writer recommends quite rightly, creating a greater degree of awareness and publicity by both governmental and nongovernmental organisations and cites the Hunar Project for girls in Bihar of the National Open School as one such example.  More such projects are necessary for our country to move forward to create a true educated India as the writer concludes convincingly.

 DR V SUBRAMANYAN, Thane

What are holidays meant for?

Knowledge (November 4) carries an interesting debate, ‘What is in a holiday?’.  Harleen Kaur, the TYBMS student, deserves to be appreciated for putting the whole thing in the correct perspective with her mature observations. points out that everything cannot be achieved within the framework of the prescribed syllabus in the university.  She emphasizes the point that the students need to go beyond what they get in the university, and find time to improve their thinking capabilities and the holidays provide this much-needed additional time.  She finally asks “if assignments and homework during the holidays help them achieve that, why not?”.  In the face of these forceful arguments, one is not able to go with Rajan Wernekar who feels that the days in the college are golden days in their lives and so they should be left to enjoy them without being burdened with assignments, homework and the like eternally.  It should be possible to strike a via media judiciously so that they have the cake and eat it too!

 DR V SUBRAMANYAN, Thane

 Students talking in the class

 ‘Look who’s is talking’ (Knowledge, November 4) deals with the problem of students talking in the class when the teacher has already arrived.  At the outset it needs to be pointed out that this is gross indiscipline and showing disrespect to the teacher and no teacher will like it because the classroom is not a cinema hall where one can afford to pass comments on the goings-on. Each lecture has a certain sanctity attached to it since it is meant to contribute to the students’ learning process. The teacher has got a job to do and s/he spends some time at home to prepare the lecture and select the slides to be shown along with the lecture. And if the students keep talking among themselves, it will put the teacher off and the thread will be lost.  Advertising student Vidhi Shah’s justification that “they are trying to squeeze in every moment that we have to complete the unfinished conversation” is not acceptable because they have no business to keep talking when the lecture is on and if their ‘stories’ are so important to them, they should not go to the class at all. These days with many types of projections that can be made in the class, the teacher does not have to turn around to write something on the board. So, the teacher’s eyes will be constantly on the students and they can easily spot the compulsive talkers in the class and call them to their cabin for giving a dressing-down. As for Rahul Mate’s argument that they cannot abruptly “end mid-sentence” if the teacher comes 15 to 20 minutes late, while they may be engaged in talking until the teacher arrives, they have got to stop the minute the teacher steps in.  And it is only rarely if at all, that the teachers come 15 to 20 minutes late.

 DR V SUBRAMANYAN, Thane

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