All schools in Nagpur will have their final examinations completed in the next week. But the schools will stay open till May 8 and students will have to continue attending regular school till May 8.
The extended academic session is a result of Right to Education Act (RTE) norms which mandate minimum working days for schools.
“We will have to keep schools open till second week of May to comply with RTE norms from this session itself.”- says Satish Mendhe, acting district education officer.
Further, Mendhe also reported that the education ministry has asked the local office to adhere to different minimum working days for primary, secondary and higher secondary schools. “For primary section, it is minimum 200 days, for secondary section it is 220 while higher secondary section is 230 days. But again, the operative word is ‘minimum’ hence the effort is to keep it open for longer,” said Mendhe.
Hence, it is mandatory for primary schools to be working for a minimum of 200 days, secondary for 220 days and higher secondary section for 230 days.
Schools are being informed verbally about the revised academic calendar by education extension officers, and they are clearly unhappy. “The idea of making students come back the very next day after finishing their final exams is preposterous. And what are the students supposed to do once they start school? The textbooks in our aided schools are supplied by the government and there is no way the new books will be available by next week.” Another school’s principal, who is also the owner said, “Post-final exams teachers get busy in evaluation work and then in preparing the results. If students start attending school, our teachers will have to keep them engaged and the evaluation work will suffer.”- Principal
As the schools have not received the notice in writing, they will have to wait. A principal said, “I don’t want to say anything to parents right now as government decisions keep changing by the hour. Let the Nagpur office send us a circular and only then we will see what to do.”
The local education office has informed schools that schools will operate in the morning shift from 7.30am – 11.30am. TOI spoke to some parents and they were furious that their kids will have to be in school in scorching heat. Manoj Singh, whose son studies in the primary section said, “We are talking about the second week of May when by 11.30am the mercury is way beyond 40 degree Celsius. By the time my boy comes outside of school campus another 15 minutes would have passed and the sun will be blazing even more.”
It may happen that schools may have to remain open on April 14 on a national holiday of Ambedkar Jayanti. “Basically schools will have the option to organize special functions in memory of Babasaheb Ambedkar. They can have a one or two hour function and inform students about the life and times of Ambedkar. This will be educational as well as imbibe the values which the father of our constitution upheld,”- an education officer said.