Inexplicable Early Winter Break!…the question remains, was it done with enough preparation?
WINTER VACATION BY DR JAVID IQBAL
Winter break routinely starts in mid-December; however, there is no hard and fast rule. The situation may warrant an early or a delayed break. Last year, 2010 A.D, government decided against routine winter break, for right reasons. Education had suffered as a result of political turmoil. Hyped-up reports of liberal funding for providing heating arrangements abounded. The schools, however, were shorn of the mechanism of keeping class rooms sufficiently warm. Subsequently severe chill forced the closure, apparently for right reasons. The liberal funding reports announced with much fanfare evaporated like thin air. As is common in all such episodes, no questions were asked and no answers provided!
2011, December chill had set in, however nothing beyond what could be expected, hence an early break, that too announced suddenly without enough preparation for the break has had students getting the huge break without needed assignments. Assignments, which constitute a routine to keep students academically engaged. The news announced on 29th November was carried by newspapers on 30th November. “The schools falling under middle standard shall observe winter break from December 1, 2011 till February 29, next year,” a statement said [GK…front page news item, dated, 30.11.2011]. The day following on Ist. December, schools were off. A concerned citizenry has right to question…is this the way the education, the tender minds attending schools should be treated? Fortunately higher and higher secondary students, above middle standards were given a let-off, the statement carried the news of their break from December 12 to February 2012.
The early break for students up to middle would find a ready explanation from the concerned government…concern for the young wards, the right reason! The question remains, did the weather change drastically? All evidences point to the contrary, there was no heavy downpour, no heavy snowfall, and temperature though recording the usual dip wasn’t unusual. It could be pleaded, that either a few more days could have been provided for working-up academic assignments during the break or an earlier announcement made. How and why did the announcement get hiked to the extent of sounding like an emergency measure? Was it a measure to provide the tender young wards a break or providing a corridor for some to move out of the valley chill to warmer regions of the state?
The break it may be noticed was announced without due consideration being given to the academic routine, the ministry should have been conscious of. The routine specifies terms and unit tests to assess the curricular progress. As per ‘Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation Scheme’ [CCES] there are two term and three unit evaluations. The prescribed syllabus is compartmentalized on load content vis-à-vis weightage basis. The three unit tests, as per CCES are scheduled for March/April, August and December, whileas the terms are scheduled for June and October. We might zero in on December unit test and ascertain whether it was held as scheduled or not? December might not mean strictly the month assigned for the test. It could be argued, that if an early break had to be taken, sufficient time should have been provided for completing the test in later days of November, and as already made out time provided for assigning winter break academic work. The question remains, was it done?
The news report of 30.11.2011 carried a warning for private schools “Any default on the part of private schools in observance of the calendar of vacations shall attract action under rules,” the statement said. The grapevine has it that some private schools stung by the sudden announcement, while they had announced holding the December unit test held the test during the first few days of December, and instead of taking the winter break from 01.12.2011 [Thursday] completed the test and closed for winter on Saturday, third December onwards. As per the statement, it may ‘attract action under rules’. It might be asked…could such an action be called justified? This is not to make out that government is contemplating or has taken such an unjustified action. However the tone and tenor of the statement is uncalled for, given that private schools have to abide by official regulations. The entire gambit of such as control by official agencies though needs to be a matter of a wide debate.
According to current estimates, 80% are government schools, making it the major provider of education. However, private schools often provide superior results at a fraction of the unit cost of government schools. The pupil teacher ratios are much better in private schools--1:31 to 1:37 for government schools. The snag remains--private schools fail to provide education to the poorest families. In spite of Court orders for reservations, only one fifth of private players abide on a countrywide basis. Even with strict abiding by one and all, government would continue to be the major player in foreseeable future. Nevertheless, a strong plea could be made to free private sector of official control, except where it is warranted. And in due course of time, the shift from public to private sector could be hastened, with liberal public funding. Over-burdened government may do well to enhance private sector role in education and health… vital sectors of national life!
Yaar Zinda, Sohbat Baqi
[Reunion is subordinate to survival]
Feedback: Iqbal. email@example.com
Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Dec 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 13 Dec 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 14 Dec 2011 00:00:00 IST
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