Summer vacation for Mumbai school children just got shorter

Nov 02, 2014, 09:12 IST | Shreya Bhandary

After a five-day vacation for Ganeshotsav and election holidays, schools say they have no choice but to cut students’ summer vacation short to complete the portion

Hold on to those ambitious plans of vacationing over the summer, your children in tow. After having declared a five-day vacation for Ganeshotsav in September, most schools across the city now plan to cut their summer vacations short. Some have decided to work on all Saturdays this month, while others will push the academic year till mid-April to cover the syllabus. 

School principals say they have no choice but to cut summer vacations short because of religious and election holidays. File Photo

The Right To Education (RTE) Act rules clearly state that schools must be functional for 220 days in a year — something teachers and parents are not too happy about since it now means a shorter summer vacation.

‘Pressure from political parties and parents’
Prashant Redij, principal of Hilda Castelino Marathi High School, Kandivli, said his is one of the many schools which has decided to extend the final exam schedule to April 15, instead of April 7. He added that the school will use the extra days to complete the remaining portion. “First, we were reprimanded by various political outfits to declare extra holidays during Ganeshotsav, and now the education department says we can’t exceed the prescribed number of holidays in an academic year. To make matters worse, as we try to make up for lost time, parents have expressed their annoyance, too. We, the school principals, are under tremendous pressure from all sides,” he said.

Apart from the holidays for Ganeshotsav, schools also had to make up for the days they lost during the state elections held last month. Many schools in the city that were used as polling centres were asked to vacate the school premises to polling officials for three days — October 13, 14 and 15. Many schools ended up advancing their exams and the portion was not covered in time. The schools then decided to finish the remaining portion from the first semester in the final semester.

Rekha Shahani, principal of Kamla High School in Khar said her school will hold lectures on all Saturdays this month.

“It will be difficult for teachers as well as students, but we have no choice. Students were already informed about it before they left for Diwali vacations,” she said, and added that since the election dates clashed with their semester exam schedule, the school conducted oral examinations after the vacations while theory exams were conducted before the leave.

‘Schools well aware of rules’
Meanwhile, the education department has not sent any notice to the schools about compulsory working days. A senior official from the department, on condition of anonymity, stated that schools are aware of the rules in place. “The RTE clearly states that primary schools must function for 200 days and secondary schools for 220 days — this information has been shared with the schools. The department will not keep reminding schools of the same. If we find a school defaulting, we will send them a notice,” he said.

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