No non-academic activity during school hours hereafter: Sivankutty

Minister for General Education V Sivankutty. Photo: File Image

Kochi: School students won't be hereafter drafted as audience at public functions in Kerala. This practice which was in vogue for decades won't be continued from the new academic year.

Speaking to Manorama News, Minister for General Education V Sivankutty said that from the new academic year, the practice of taking students to the venues of public functions to serve as the audience would be prohibited.

He said directives had also been issued against giving school buildings for conducting other functions during the class hours.

"All schools should have playgrounds. No construction will be allowed on playgrounds. Schools without playgrounds will be ordered to develop them in a time-bound manner," the minister added.

The Minister gave these assurances at a parley with students that was organized by Manorama News ahead of the reopening of schools on June 1. Around 42 lakh students are expected to head to schools as the new academic year commences.

12 extra Saturdays likely to be working days for Kerala schools

The 2023-24 academic year may have more working days. Twelve more Saturdays could be included as working days for government and aided schools in the state. A final decision is expected to be taken on Wednesday.

The total teaching days in government and government-aided schools in the state will increase to 204 days a year if the proposal is given the nod.

The Quality Improvement Programme (QIP) meeting of various school teachers’ organizations had suggested increasing the number of working days.

“The new National Education Policy stipulates the Lower Primary Schools to have 800 working hours an academic year while it should be 1,000 and 1,200 hours respectively for Upper Primary and High Schools. To ensure this, the total number of education days will have to be extended up to 220 days a year,” stated General Education Minister V Sivankutty.

The State Government had earlier decided to extend the school working days to 28 more Saturdays and take the total number of teaching days to 220 a year. Accordingly, it also included a proposal in this regard in the draft of the latest academic calendar.

The 12 extra Saturdays will be selected from the weeks, which otherwise do not have five consecutive working days or have at least one holiday between Monday and Friday. At the same time, none of these weeks will have six consecutive instruction days.

The move to increase the number of working day, however, drew stiff opposition from most teachers’ organizations. The unions affiliated to the Opposition parties had even conveyed their objections in writing. The protest was severe in the case of the Higher Secondary wing, which already had more teaching hours. It was in this backdrop that the State government held another round of consultations with the teachers’ organizations in which a consensus was arrived to have Saturday too a working day in those weeks which have at least one holiday between Monday and Friday.

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