Schools in Mumbai have united to reduce the stigma attached with academically weaker students.
Postponing vacations till the end of this month, 10 schools have asked all students to attend the remedial summer classes. This has been done to avoid labelling a few students as academically weak.
All students have to attend school for a couple of hours every day to participate in various activities ranging from remedial lessons, speech and drama, sports, art and craft, among others.
The schools have also renamed retests, to be administered to students who failed their exams, as smart tests to boost their confidence.
As schools cannot detain students till Class 8, remedial teaching to bring academically weak students on par with others is compulsory under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009. Schools also have to give retests to students who have failed the exam.
However, school principals said students being called for remedial classes end up being teased by their classmates or labelled as ‘weak’ by teachers.
“Calling only a handful of students for remedial classes during vacation leads to discrimination. Other students become prejudiced against those students,” said Father Jude Fernandes, principal of St Stanislaus School, Bandra. “So we decided to hold activities for all students.”
The project has been taken up by the institutes as part of an informal association of schools known as Bandra Interschool Republic Day Committee (BIRD). These include schools from Bandra, Khar, Santacruz and Andheri.
“We call students for one-and-a-half hour every day,” said Sister Pearl Anne, principal, Apostolic Carmel School, Bandra. “Students who need retests are given tests, while others participate in different activities.”
But this has reduced the period of summer vacation by nearly a month, as vacations have begun in other schools from this week.
However, parents said they did not mind it. “This is a good way for students to be engaged in constructive activities during vacation,” said Bindu Corriea, a parent.