Portions reduced but is there time enough to complete it, wonder teachers

Ahead of reopening of schools, corporation workers disinfect a classroom at the Campion Higher Secondary School at Tiruchi on Monday.   | Photo Credit: M. Moorthy

While bracing up for resumption of classroom sessions from Tuesday, teachers of government schools here are apparently not convinced over the 40% reduction in portions for classes X and XII that the government has promised.

A common thought prevailing among the teachers, particularly, those handling science subjects and Mathematics, is that the level of content reduction was well below 30 %.

Their grouse, in fact, has not anything to do with retention of most portions but their worry is about completion of the assigned content in a matter of few months, as they need to start from scratch.

“We are already into the third week of January, and even if the exams are to be held during June-July, there will be less than 100 working days for completion of 70% of portions. The portions are planned for a year taking into consideration 200 working days. But, with the available time, it will be practically possible to complete only 50 % of the portions. Teachers ought to have been consulted well before finalising the content. Matters will only turn worse if the government school teachers are drafted for election duty during the conduct of elections to the State Assembly,” Uduman Ali, Secretary of the Tiruchi district unit of Tamil Nadu Asiriyar Munnetra Sangam said.

During June last year, the School Education Department announced reduction in content of textbooks for classes I to X by at least 30 %, to compensate for the working days lost in the lockdown.

A committee of teachers, authors and faculty from District Institute of Education and Training that was set up has recommended the chapters and topics to be omitted. However, the rather prolonged closure of schools due to the lockdown was not anticipated.

At this stage, the government must fix a schedule for completion of the portions, and announce the date of examination, so that there could be some scope for planning, teachers emphasise.

“The Kalvi Television channel was not effective enough for completion of portions in the absence of real-time monitoring of students. We now have to start the lessons right from the first chapter for students in government schools that are pre-dominantly in rural parts. The priority of students in villages during the lockdown was to assist their parents in tending to cattle and farm activities. They cannot be faulted for not following the schedules of the Kalvi television channel”, a teacher handling English in a government-aided school in the city said.

Meanwhile, headmasters have put in place measures to make sure that the safety protocol advocated by the government was complied with, with particular emphasis on physical distancing, sanitisation of classrooms, and wearing of face masks. In many schools, teachers made personal contributions to engage workers for cleaning up the classrooms.

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Printable version | Mar 8, 2021 6:53:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Tiruchirapalli/portions-reduced-but-is-there-time-enough-to-complete-it-wonder-teachers/article33601574.ece

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