Of school bunking and classroom inertia

Students must remain focused on their studies, but it is the responsibility of school administrations to create an enabling environment for academics
Of school bunking and classroom inertia
Representational ImageFile/ GK

Almost a week ago, a video surfaced on social media wherein the students were seen roaming in public parks and other picnic spots in Srinagar during school hours.

Draped in school uniforms, both boys and girls enrolled in government schools in Srinagar were seen busy wasting their time in parks while their classes were going on in schools.

The videos making rounds on social media raised questions on parenting of these kids while some started blaming the school administration for not acting tough against these students.

In most of the cases it has been seen that the students who spend their day in parks during school hours, never skip a single class at their private coaching centres, not only in city but in other districts as well. It has raised questions over the classroom culture which is prevalent in schools these days.

One of the concerns raised is: are teachers unable to retain students in classes or is environment in classes boring that students don’t feel like attending the classes.

It has been learnt that in some schools, teachers encourage students for making their dummy admission in government schools for the sake of showing “encouraging enrollment” in the schools while the students actually remain focused on private coaching centres.

Recently, the principal secretary School Education Department (SED) said they will come up with a solution at department level to curb the menace while the solution at department level to curb the menace.

The police authorities said they have already taken cognizance of the issue and will depute police personnel in civvies in parks and other such spots to discourage school bunking by students.

While the government is working out solutions, the point is why a teacher fails to attract the student in his class during school hours while the same students are seen rushing to attend the class of the same teacher at the private tuition centres

Why a student prefers a private tuition class over a routine class in his school, mostly of the same teacher who teaches these students at the private tuition centres as well. While the debate was going on over students seen roaming in parks during school hours, a shocking revelation came to fore at official level where the teacher was blamed for not retaining the students in his class during school hours.

The revelation came to the fore when the Director School Education Kashmir (DSEK) conducted a surprise visit to a school in Ganderbal district last week, only to return disappointed after witnessing the unexpected trends going in schools. During his surprise visit, the DSEK saw teachers sitting idle while the students were seen roaming in markets in nearby areas.

The director expressed his displeasure over the incident and dispatched a note to the concerned principal of the higher secondary school seeking an explanation over the indiscipline in the institution.

The DSEK in his note said that on the day of inspection, the whole teaching staff was sitting idle in the school premises while as the students were seen roaming in the market. It was also found during inspection that only two classes of 9th Urdu and 11th Political Science were being conducted by the respective teachers in which the attendance of students in 11th class was only 21 while the enrolled students in the said class are 190. Shockingly, the lecturer teaching the students was not found fully prepared to deliver his class and was not having lesson plan for the said class.

The inspection report had more shocking revelations mentioned in it. The DSEK during his inspection to the school has observed that the teacher who was teaching Urdu subject in class 9th was not able to read some sentences of the lesson and was not able to explain some words to the students.

“It clearly indicates that the subject teacher had not prepared the lesson at all and seemed incompetent to teach,” the DSEK remarked in his letter to the concerned principal. The revelations that came to fore on the day of inspection clearly exposes the lack of supervision on part of the school head as the teachers were found not well versed with the topics which they were delivering. The other staff members were also seen disinterested in maintaining the discipline of the institution.

The observations made by the DSEK himself as the head of the department were surprising but at the same time apparently exposed the reason why students prefer roaming in parks than attending their classes in schools. An explanation has been sought from the head of the school over low academic standards and laxity on the part of teaching staff in preparing the lessons.

Having said this, we cannot paint all teachers with the same brush. There are some brilliant teachers working in the school education department who are really building the career of the students. Now coming to the point, apart from departmental actions against school teachers and heads and deputing flying squads by J&K Police to curb bunking of classes by students, there has to some permanent solution to it.

The teachers should make classroom activities more interactive rather than one way delivery of classes. They should engage students in group discussions on topics related to syllabus and give them attractive home assignments to raise their levels of creativity and interest in studies.

Furthermore, the department should put in place a stringent attendance mechanism in schools whereby SMS can go to parents about attendance of their wards. Also holding parent teacher meetings every three months can also help in curbing the menace of bunking classes by students.

It needs a collective effort to make sure that students remain completely focused on their studies to safeguard their career prospects. Parents, government, school administrations will have to join hands and put in place mechanisms to curb the menace of school bunking by students.

We need a student community which is conscious of their duties and responsibilities, both towards themselves as well as towards their society.

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