A recent order from school education department instructing schools to conduct classes for 8 hours has got mired in controversy with school teachers and principals opposing the move.
The education department while issuing the order had said that coronoavirus outbreak had badly affected studies and there were limitations to online classes, so the long hours had been proposed to make up for the lost time.
The teachers have opposed the new order and termed it as impractical. Teachers have said teaching children continuously without a break is unrealistic. According to the Covid-19 guideline, students are not allowed to play outside or have any interactions, wherein it becomes difficult to keep them seated in one place without a break for 8 hours, said teachers.
Earlier classes were being conducted for 6 hours as per orders. Even then students did not get break or any time to rest.
This week, Public Education Commissioner Jaishree Kiyawat issued an order, directing schools to conduct classes from 9 am to 5 pm. This order was forwarded to all the schools by district education department instructing schools to conduct classes as per the new schedule.
Schools were not conducting classes like this, i.e. for 8 hours without a break even before coronavirus outbreak, said teachers association representative Pramod Raghuvanshi.
He added that before coronavirus outbreak, school timing was from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm.
“During this period, children were given half-an-hour lunch break,” Raguvanshi said. He added now when the schools reopened, schools were conducted from 10.30 am to 4.30 pm but no time for recess was allotted.
“Now, if we conduct 8 hour non-stop classes with no recess, students might get overstressed,” Raghuvanshi said.
Eat while teacher teaches…
As per the order, students can bring lunch to school but they will not be given any recess time to eat. Students can have their lunches during the class time if they feel hungry. Students also have to bring their water bottles and ensure that they are carrying enough water for the day. No type of sharing, playing or any group activity is allowed in the school.
Why such an order?
As per the order, “Since regular classes were not conducted for 6 months due to Covid-19 outbreak, and board examinations is near, schools have to make up for the missed hours. Keeping in view the same and requirement of students, the time of all government high school and higher secondary school has been changed from 9 am to 5 am.” The order has to come into force with immediate effect.
Teachers demand withdrawal of order
Teachers association has demanded withdrawal of the order.
“When the target for ensuring passing of students has been given to teachers of the schools for the board examination, then why are the children being put under stress by increasing the hours,” said Raghuvanshi. He added that the association will soon approach school education department with a memorandum as well.