The Maharashtra state education department’s order mandating all schools to have 220 working days for Classes 1 to 8 and 230 days for Classes 9 and 10 from this academic year, has evoked mixed reactions from Mumbai schools.
Some of the schools, following a five-day week, have now decided to remain open on some Saturdays, while others have demanded an early start to the academic year, which will give them more working days.
Schools received the order from the education department in the form of a circular last week insisting they should have 220-230 working days, as stipulated in the Right to Education (RTE) Act, 2009.
However, principals of city schools feel the target is tough to achieve. “We have increased the number of working Saturdays in our school for the coming academic year. But we are still unable to have more than 210 working days,” said Freny Mehta, principal, Alexandra Girl’s English Institution, Fort.
Mehta said parents are opposed to schools remaining open on Saturdays, as they have already enrolled their children in various extracurricular activities on weekends. “Some children have extracurricular classes, prayer classes and other personal grooming work during the weekend,” said Mehta. “Even teachers need Saturdays to attend to their personal work.”
Teachers said the government should think about starting the new academic session before June 15, so that schools get more working days. “The academic sessions should begin from June 1. Schools will get nearly 15 extra working days,” said Rajesh Pandya, teacher from Fatima Devi English School, Malad.
“This way, we will not have to reduce the duration of these vacations,” said Thomas Vaz, principal, Holy Family School, Andheri.