The Punjab school education department, which “forgot” to hold the annual games for the Class 5 children and students with special needs last session, is going to hold these now at a short notice of two days.
It has written to the schools that the event is coming up on April 10 and they must get ready. These state-level games are held every September, but last year there were no matches, and while the department gave no justification, the teachers alleged that it had simply forgotten. On April 7, deputy director of physical education Sarabjit Singh Toor wrote to the schools to submit the names of the participating students by April 9, for the games to be held in Fatehgarh Sahib a day later. The letter doesn’t mention the reporting venue or the time.
The teachers now have a big problem, for the students have moved on to the next class or changed schools, and two days is a little time for any sporting preparation. Only the students who have won at the block and district levels are eligible to compete. “They are now in Class 6 and we can’t prepare them in just one day and take them to Fatehgarh Sahib, too,” said a teacher in SAS Nagar.
The letter has created a chaos, and teachers across state are looking to their principals to find a solution. Some have verbal directions from them to get it in writing from the parents of the now Class-6 students that they don’t want their children to participate. “The department has made a mockery of the entire system,” said Government Teacher Union state president Karnail Singh, asking for inquiry and explanation.
Senior officials in the department say the games were planned much earlier. “The games could not happen in February because of the civic elections. The schools were informed then, and the letter is just a reminder,” said director public instructions (schools) Balbir Singh Dhol. Asked if he had any earlier-issued letter as evidence, he said: “I will have the person concerned speak with you.” However, no one had till the filing of the report.
Online admission to open school
From this session, Punjab School Education Board will hold online admission to open school in Classes 10 and 12. This is for the sake of transparency, so that students are not overcharged.