The education department has instructed city schools to increase the number of working days to 200 for Stds I to V and to 220 for Stds VI to VIII. Currently, schools in the city function for 195 days in the academic year.
In a notification issued by the education inspector’s office, Mumbai South Zone, schools will have to follow the minimum number of working days/instructional hours as prescribed by the Right to Education Act, 2009.
“...If schools don’t fulfil the requirement it will be considered a breach of law,” the notification read. A similar circular will be issued by other zones soon.
Schools, however, have objected. “We work six hours a day and five days a week and complete the prescribed work hours, but the new notification is going to disrupt our timetable. To complete 220 days, we will have to work on Saturdays and reduce the number of hours per day,” said Dilshad Thobani, headmistress, HA and LS girls’ high school, Dongri. The RTE Act requires schools to complete 800 and 1,000 instructional hours for Stds I to V and Stds VI to VIII, respectively.
The Mahamumbai Shikshan Sanstha Sanghatana (school managements’ association) has written to the deputy director of education appealing against the notification. “Before RTE was enacted, schools were permitted to put in more hours daily so as to work five days a week. Most of the old schools are following this system. We will fulfil the number of hours, but schools should not be compelled to work six days a week,” said Ramakanth Pandey, association’s vice-president.
Authorities said the move will affect Convent and Urdu medium schools the most. “Convent schools in the city have Thursday off and Urdu medium schools have Friday off. How are they expected to change (their schedule) and work six days?” said Prashant Redij, member of the Maharashtra State Secondary and Higher Secondary School Principals’ Association.
The association plans to stage a protest on January 4 outside the office of director of school education in Pune.
However, the department has said it will give special permission to schools that can’t increase working days. “They can take permission from the education inspector if they can’t work six days a week but can complete the hours required,” said NB Chavan, deputy director of education, Mumbai division.
The minimum number of working days/instructional hours in an academic year, as per the RTE...
200 working days for Stds I to V
220 working days for Stds VI to VIII
800 instructional hours per academic year for Stds I to V
1,000 instructional hours per academic year for Stds VI to VIII