Special classes held despite uncertainty over public exams

These are conducted for students of Classes V to VIII

Despite the assurance of Minister for School Education K.A. Sengottaiyan that public examinations would not be conducted for students of Class V and VIII for the next three years, special classes for students from Standard V to VIII are being conducted in schools here for the past two weeks.

In September, Mr. Sengottaiyan told mediapersons in Dharmapuri that the public exams would be held for students of Classes V and VIII only after three years. However, education officials in Coimbatore say that no official announcement has been received yet.

The order issued by Chief Education Officer (CEO) P. Ayyanan earlier this month instructed all government, municipal, Corporation, government-aided and Adi Dravidar Welfare schools to conduct special classes for Classes V to VIII from 8.30 a.m. to 9.15 a.m. on all working days.

The schools should conduct tests for 25 marks based on the special classes from 4.30 p.m. to 5.20 p.m. and evaluate the papers within two days.

Mr. Ayyanan said during the introduction of these classes that it would prepare the students to face competitive exams in future. He added that these classes and tests would not burden the students and teachers.

A school education official on condition of anonymity said that the special classes were primarily intended to improve the reading and writing skills of the students. “If the public examinations are to be conducted for Class V and VIII, the students should be able to write something,” the official said. While special classes had been regularly held for students above Class VI, this was the first time that Class V had been included following the announcement of public exams, the official said.

Owing to practical difficulties the students and teachers faced, many schools were starting the special classes only around 8.45 a.m., the official said, adding that all schools conducted the morning classes for at least 30 minutes. In some schools located in remote areas where transportation could be difficult in the evening, teachers tend to finish the classes during lunch breaks to enable the students to go early, the official said.

T. Arulanandam, district president of Tamil Nadu High Higher Secondary School Graduate Teachers Association, said that government school students in the city were the most affected as many had to travel at least an hour from their homes located outside the city.

“Children studying Class V generally do not wake up before 7 a.m. How could they get ready and come to school by 8.30 a.m.?” he questioned. As most of the students would not feel like playing after 5.30 p.m., these classes would be detrimental to the physical and mental health of the students, said Mr. Arulanandam, who is also a teacher in a government-aided school in the city.

A headmistress of a government school told The Hindu that she had been receiving complaints from parents ever since the special classes were introduced. “Parents tell us that they will train their children at home, but we cannot breach the order given by Department of School Education,” she said.

She added that the school had prepared the details of Class V and VIII students to be uploaded in the Educational Management Information System portal. “Even if the public exams are held for Class V and VIII, we will be ready,” she said.

Mr. Ayyanan told The Hindu that the special classes were conducted with the cooperation of all the schools. “Now, we have instructed the schools not to conduct the tests frequently,” he said, adding that the classes would be finished before 5.10 p.m. in many schools. He said that they had not received any complaints from students, teachers or parents regarding the special classes.

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Printable version | Feb 25, 2020 12:51:37 PM |

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