Two days after Punjab governor and UT administrator VP Singh Badnore highlighted the need to initiate concept of extended schools in Chandigarh, HT takes a look at what exactly do extended schools entail and the stakeholders’ views on the same.
In a bid to augment inclusive growth of students and to make sure they get to spend quality time with parents after school, Badnore proposed the idea of extended schools, wherein students will be engaged in sports and other activities. They will also get time to finish homework in school itself.
An extended school refers to childcare services, including homework and extra-curricular activities, offered. An increasing number of educationists are calling for more time in schools, arguing that low-income children in particular need more time to catch up as institutions face increasing pressure to improve student test scores.
Yadavindra Public School, SAS Nagar, is perhaps the only school in the tricity which describes itself as an extended school. School principal, RP Devgan, said, “I feel the need for such schools is growing with students getting more dependent on technology and losing out on childhood activities. We, therefore, have always emphasised on physical activities after school hours to ensure holistic education for students.” Students are in school from 8am to 4pm.
Talking to a parent of Class 7 student at the same school, Sofi Zahoor, who owns a software company here, said, “The fact that children are encouraged to take up sports actively and not merely as an extra- curricular activity is satisfying.” He added that while schools try to do away with homework, it is never possible to get rid of it completely since students are increasingly being given projects and research based homework nowadays.
Similarly, another parent, Rashmi Anand, parent of a Class 4 student at The Gurukul, Panchkula, said, “The after school lawn tennis classes that are a part of the extended school activities here have given my son a great opportunity to hone his talent in a familiar and a friendly atmosphere. Such classes encourage and motivate the students to try their hands in various co-curricular activities.”
The Gurukul, like many other schools, takes extra charges for holding these classes post school hours. However, the principal said they had received a positive response and appreciated the governor’s suggestion on extended schools here. The school principal, Harsimran Kaur, said, “Extended schooling helps in giving exposure to the students to a host of recreational activities in a safe environment. It is also beneficial in training potential talent in various fields under expert coaches without affecting the academic domain.”
Need to make govt schools first choice of parents
Badnore had also said that he wanted the government schools to perform so well that these should become first choice of parents. Amit Chadha, principal, GMSSS, Sector 41, said, “I feel this also goes well with CBSE’s recent guidelines to not let students of junior classes carry heavy school bags. So, if we can actually enable students to finish their homework in school itself, this will actually be helpful.” The concept is popular in countries like Australia, Germany, Italy, Brazil and the United States.
“I have asked DSE to work out the modalities where one or two government schools, we can start the pilot project on a voluntary basis in order to get feedback and see how it will do. We will initiate it once current term exams get over in schools,” said Sarvjit Singh, education secretary.
Focus on sports
No home work
Less burden on children and emphasis on quality time between parents and children
Student is in school for long hours
Same time can be utilised to complete homework at home
Schools continue to give projects, on which child will have to work at home