The corridors in most city schools have fallen silent. Students are away on summer vacations, and teachers will soon follow suit.
However, even in the last weeks of April and during the month of May, it is not all rest for schools with work raining down in brief spells.
As students head out for holidays, the knocks of hammers and the strokes of brushes will soon fill the vacuum, with many schools utilising the break to carry out repair and maintenance work.
“This is the only time of the year where we can take up renovation, whitewashing and maintenance work as children are away. We assess if additional desks would be required to accommodate new admissions and also arrange for textbooks and uniforms for the students,” says B. Purushottam, principal, Everwin Matriculation Higher Secondary School.
At Chettinad Vidyashram, students are taken on an international trip every alternate year during the summer break, says S. Amudha Lakshmi, principal of the school. “We had taken 100 students to NASA last year,” she says.
About what is in store this year, she says, “We are making box chairs for kindergarten students and setting up six new classrooms for class V students during the March break. This is also the time for us to upgrade the math and language labs.”
A vice-principal of a matriculation school says they plan the annual diary for the next year and also draw up the time-tables.
Some schools offer short summer camps too. H. Chandana, who will be going to class IX next year, is attending a 12-day sports camp in her school where she plays tennikoit.
“We have a little holiday homework too. Each person has been given the choice of doing a project in a subject of her choice. I am going to make a pie-chart tracing the use of non-conventional use of energy,” she says.
For A. Vijaylakshmi, who teaches English and math at the middle-school level, the summer vacation is the much-needed respite before she gears up for another intense academic year.
“School closed on April 20 and we finished compiling results, data entry and filling up the report card by then. For some senior classes, work is still on,” she says, adding, “We may have to go to school when results are declared or when books arrive. Otherwise, it will be a good break.”
Though the school has been closed for students, the doors have to be kept open for admissions which began in April, says the headmaster of a Chennai School.
“Other than admissions , consolidating results, assessments and attendance records for all classes is keeping us busy. Teachers work on a rotational basis, and some are engaged in consolidating marks. We are also reviewing the performance of students in the continuous and comprehensive evaluation scheme introduced last academic year. Whenever it arrives, we sort out the free bags, geometry books, and books among other benefits into different bunches for the classes,” the headmaster says.
However, with the school education department having issued a Government Order streamlining admissions for 25 per cent quota under RTE Act this year in private non-minority unaided schools, schools may have to keep their doors open for a considerable number of days in May.
According to the schedule, schools will have to start issuing admission forms on May 3, and the process will last until May 20.