With the Punjab education department asking government schools to hold extra remedial classes for Class 9 and Class 10 students reckoned weak in mathematics and science for two months, the decision has not gone down well with the teaching fraternity, calling it “infeasible”.
These students, identified as ‘slow learners’, or at least this is how the department chose to describe them, will get special attention during extra classes before or after school hours.
The state project director of the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan (RMSA) has issued instructions to the district education officers (secondary) to ask heads of schools to conduct classes for students “identified as slow learners” in a test to be conducted in November.
A mathematics teacher at a government school in Jalandhar said it was very difficult for them to take extra classes before or after the school hours.
“I leave home at 7:30 am and it takes me at least 40 minutes to reach the school. It is very difficult during the winters to come one hour earlier to school amid bad weather. It is not practically possible to stay back after school hours as buses ply as per schedule only,” said a woman teacher.
Another mathematics teacher on the condition of anonymity said it was not feasible to take an extra one-hour class for 25 days.
“My house is 70km from the school where I teach. Conducting remedial classes will upset my travelling schedule,” she added.
District science supervisor Baljinder Singh said the remedial classes have to be taken from January 1 to February 28.
“As per the orders, the heads of the schools have been asked to conduct remedial classes for at least 20 per cent of the total students. A month later, a test will be conducted of these students and a report on their performance will be compiled and submitted till February 4,” he said.
The schools which do not have teachers of these subjects could ask their cluster head to arrange teachers.
The subject teachers who will take the extra classes will be paid `500 per student by the central government through RMSA.
The district education officers and school heads have been asked to monitor the coaching and distribution of stipends.
“The schools heads will also check the attendance of students and teachers tasked with the job. We will take in written from parents that their ward will be either called early or will get free one hour late due to extra class so that they must ensure their attendance,” he added.