Scrap books whose inputs we would copy from the internet and never read again, maybe not even once. Brand new sketch pens we would probably never use again. And getting screamed at by parents for making them run to the printout shop at the last minute – welcome to the gory world of the holiday homework. Generations of students have run riot over the course of the summer holidays trying to get India’s map exactly right or cutting and pasting at random to make that collage on environmental degradation.
Unfortunately, not much has changed over the years. And with the new CBSE curriculum, holiday homework has taken on a whole new meaning with grades attached to it.
Along with the poor kids, even parents and older siblings are forced to be part of the misery, and mostly end up doing all the work.
Rabustat Kaur, a Class 10 student of St Stephens School, says, “I’m not really a part of the ‘no holiday homework clan’ but I do believe that schools should put a limit on the projects and assignments doled out for holidays. It should be more like revision of what we have already studied at school which wouldn’t require me to work for five to six hours each day of the vacation.”
Ananya Mahi, a Class 8 student of Smart Wonders School, SAS Nagar, says, “I feel holidays are meant to be enjoyed so that we are fresh for the new term. We could probably do with a little revision or research on some interesting topic rather than so much written work.”
Manjeet Kaur Sodhi, a junior teacher at Army Public School, says, “I feel students should be given homework that is within their calibre and does not require much outside help. It would also be beneficial for their knowledge and growth as students and individuals. It will also make them more responsible in the future.”
Anuradha, a science teacher at Delhi Public School, feels that holiday homework is a way to work on your knowledge and understanding of topics outside the school curriculum. She says, “Assignments should be fun to do and involve brainstorming and research in the real sense rather than copying and pasting from the internet.”
Parents, however, feel that holiday homework is a constructive way to spend the vacation rather than completely be out of touch with the school curriculum.
Surinder Kaur Ahluwalia, a self-employed mother, says, “I can’t imagine my 15-yearold daughter sitting idle at home during the holidays. However, it should not put too much pressure on students. Teachers should make sure students stay in touch with their studies throughout.” Aditi Walia, a parent as well as counsellor, says, “The summer vacation is a time for rejuvenation, but students shouldn’t be shocked when they get back to school, hence they should keep up with their studies and revise their school work. Homework should be planned carefully by schools and should not be the redundant exercise it has now become. They should also take time out to learn a new skill if possible.”
Since most students are overburdened by school work even during holidays, it has spawned a business of outsourcing homework to professionals who specialise in making projects and models. Sandeep Kumar of stationery store Super Traders in Sector 36, is one such person who ‘helps’ students with their projects. He says he gets more orders from students during the vacation. He feels that such projects are not rocket science and that his team of two to three men can ace projects on science and environmental education. “We earn around Rs 200 to Rs 400 daily. We also promote tie-ups between college-goers and students who make projects to earn a little pocket money,” he says.