“Schools seem to be forgetting how monsoon can be combined with studies”

Started by sajiv, Nov 11, 2009, 08:00 PM

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"Schools seem to be forgetting how monsoon can be combined with studies"

CHENNAI: What is it about rainy weather that makes children, parents and teachers anxious, watchful and excited, not necessarily in that order?

There are too many things to watch out if it's a working and a rainy day. Children are restless and distracted seeing water around them, parents get concerned about their health and teachers get extra cautious of where students are going to tread.

Perhaps that's why during the northeast monsoon the School Education Department is extra cautious to declare it a holiday for government schools and sometimes even for private run institutions if there is heavy downpour.

A senior educational officer says that in most cases a holiday is not warranted, but its pressure from parents that such decision is taken. Schools in Tiruvarur district, for instance, lost 21 working days last monsoon, says the official. Most Chennai schools say last year at least five holidays were declared by the government, this is besides managements forced to make their own decision if the surrounding warrants.

But, some schools say parents prefer a working day. "In fact, on a rainy day we have KG children coming in first. They probably have working parents and they think school is safer environment," says Jashoda Sundar, teacher with Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Senior Secondary School. She feels that middle and senior secondary schools can continue to work if it is not inclement weather.

Teachers say portions cannot be completed if there are too many unnecessary holidays. But, then for most Boards the second term is the shortest. Examinations, extra-curricular activities and absenteeism because of monsoon are all counted this term. Other reasons such as inundation or lack of transportation are why many children cannot reach school.

Hope Foundation, a non-governmental organisation that runs a nursery and primary school in Thoraipakkam, on a regular basis does not see any absenteeism but a little rain is enough to see the neighbouring Kannagi Nagar inundated, where most children come from.

Also, teachers feel its better children stay at home rather than coming soaked in the rain.

Amid bad roads and lesson plans, schools seem to be forgetting how monsoon can be combined with studies.

Teachers say rainy day activity, be it playing indoor games as an alternative for PT class or creative writing on monsoon and interactive exercises can assure children make ample use of their time in school.

"Monsoon can be combined with studies. Unfortunately, unlikely the West where classes are very much a part of the rainy season, it's a far thing in India as stormwater drain system is poor and even a small rain inundates most areas," says Manjula Saraf, Headmistress and programme coordinator Hope Foundation Nursery and Primary School.

"In Ooty it rains almost every day but schools function like normal days. If the area is inundated, only then should holiday be declared or the headmaster can take the decision," adds the School Education Department official.

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