Holidays aplenty in the first six months of the current academic year had kept students in Ernakulam schools a happy lot. But, with mid-term examinations round the corner, schools in the district are now struggling to cover portions and prepare students for examinations.

There were only 106 working days in the first six months of the academic year compared to 120 days during the same period last year. Take into account days lost on exams, sports, cultural and work experience fests and the number of working days would further drop to about 80-90 days.

Teachers’ Club, an organisation of teachers of government and aided schools in the district, has called for a serious review of holidays that adversely affect the education of children while sabotaging the core of the Right to Education Act that has set minimum hours of teacher-student interaction.

“Government and aided schools are at the receiving end of the declaration of such unusually high number of holidays. CBSE and ICSE schools compensated for the loss of working days by conducting regular classes on Saturdays,” T.T. Paulose, secretary, Teachers’ Club told The Hindu.

Heavy rain

The reasons for the high number of holidays during the academic year ranged from heavy rain to hartals and religious festivals to calendar holidays and even a victory in the athletic meet.

Rain took a heavy toll on schools in the district this year, with the District Collector declaring holidays for days together, making him a hero among city students. In June this year, schools functioned only for 15 days compared to 20 days during the same month last year, whereas in July it was 21 against 22 days. In September, the number dropped to 15 days compared to 20 during the same month last year and 18 against 20 days in November.

Government and aided schools in the district will now find it difficult to meet the provisions in the Right to Education Act which calls for 200 days of teacher-student interaction or 800 hours at the primary level and 220 days or 1,000 hours at the secondary level during an academic year.