Summery debate


The recent court order asking a CBSE school based in Palakkad not to conduct classes during the vacation period — April and May has opened a debate as to whether schools under the board should follow the pan India pattern or not.

As for the rest of the country, most CBSE schools open on April 4 and classes continue till May 5 after which they close for a little over a month long vacations.

“CBSE schools have every right to function under central norms though it is the discretion of the schools themselves to decide on when they should opt for vacations.

Take for example the naval schools and the KVs where classes have already commenced,” said advocate T.P.M. Ibrahim Khan, chairman of the Kerala Federation of CBSE/ICSE schools.

“CBSE can change the criteria based on local conditions. They are already doing it abroad. Such issues should be mutually discussed by the board and the state government and they should reach a common consensus. Currently there is a difference among them on many issues like this,” said Dr A. Sukumaran Nair, education expert and former vice-chancellor of MG University.

What prompts most schools to start classes early is the introduction of the semester system under which the first summative assessment (SA-1) has to be completed before September 30 and the second before March 15 (SA-2).

“Often, especially for higher classes, we find it difficult to cover the portions unless we start a little early. However, we respect the court order and would try to adhere to its direction though it was specific to the school in Palakkad. We will convene a meeting of all schools and decide on the way forward — how we can re-look this situation,” said Maya Mohan, principal, Chinmaya Vidyalaya, Vaduthala.

Earlier, the deputy director of education, Palakkad, had conducted an inquiry and found that the changes introduced by the school during the summer vacation could mentally and physically affect the health of wards.

The matter also reached the Human Rights Commission which recommended to the government and concerned authorities that instead of schools being reopened in April, summer vacations be given in April and May, especially in the Palakkad district. The director of public instructions had earlier banned educational institutions from conducting summer classes.

“The very purpose of the summer vacation is to escape the harsh weather conditions. In Kerala humid conditions prevail right through the months of April and May unlike in the north when the climate gets really hot towards June.

The summer this time is particularly harsh. Weather experts point out that it will be the harshest summer with temperature settling in the high thirties,” Santosh P., a parent, said.
The development comes even as many more schools like the Bhavans Vidya Mandhir are mulling changes in summer vacations and thinking of starting classes early.

“Sahodaya is thinking about starting classes from the later part of May from the next academic year onwards (2013-14). But nothing has been finalised though this has been implemented in schools in Chennai,” Jaya Jacob, principal, Bhavans Vidya Mandhir, Elamakkara said.

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