Schools have too many committees, say principals

State calls for Blue Whale panels

A recent government circular directing schools to form a committee to prevent students from getting addicted to the Blue Whale online game has not gone down too well with school principals. This is the 12th committee schools have been told to set up and will only add to teachers’ workload, they have said.

The State issued the circular after a Vasai politician wrote to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis on the issue in 2017. The letter was referred to the Education Department in January 2018. A 14-year-old boy in Andheri killed himself, allegedly because of Blue Whale, in September 2017.

Schools have earlier been asked to form committees for various specific as well as general tasks. Prashant Redij, secretary of the Mumbai School Principals’ Association, said, “These committees were formed in reaction to certain incidents. For instance, we were told to form school security committees after the attack in a school in Peshawar, Pakistan, in 2014. If an attack like that were to take place here, what can we do about it, beyond installing CCTV cameras in schools? How can the State keep adding new committees for every incident that occurs?”

Mr. Redij said the main concern was the administrative paperwork these committees entail. “Every committee is expected to conduct at least four meetings per year, and a report of the minutes has to be submitted to the government. Most schools do not have sanctioned administrative staff, and the burden of all this work falls on the teachers. Besides, these meetings are generally conducted after school hours to make it convenient for parents to participate,” he said.

Swapnali Thackeray, principal of Cosmos High School, Borivli, said, “After any serious incident, we hold open discussions with students, and it is best to deal with situations this way, rather than form committees. Two committees on academics and infrastructure are enough to meet all concerns of schools.”

Schools already have committees to oversee academic matters, infrastructure issues, coordination between teachers, principals and management, gender issues, transport, mid-day meals, and security.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 9:14:50 PM |

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