Kerala government firm on ensuring 220 school days this year says V Sivankutty

This would mean that many Saturdays will have to be converted as working days in schools.
Kerala Education Minister V Sivankutty
Kerala Education Minister V SivankuttyPhoto | Express

KOCHI/THIRUVANANTHAPURAM : The state government has decided to ensure 220 instructional days in schools in the current academic year as part of improving the quality of education. General Education Minister V Sivankutty made the announcement at the state-level ‘Praveshanotsavam’ programme at Government HSS in Elamakkara, Kochi, on Monday, marking the beginning of the new academic year.

In the previous academic year, the government had attempted to fix the number of instructional days at 210 but had to slash it to 205 following fierce opposition by teachers’ unions. As per the new academic calendar, students will get 15 more instructional days this year, the minister said. This would mean that many Saturdays will have to be converted as working days in schools.

In February, the High Court had directed the government to ensure 220 instructional days in this academic year as stipulated in the Kerala Education Rules (KER). “The government has no other way but to implement the High Court direction,” said a senior official of the general education department.

However, the proposal was again resisted by teachers’ unions which argued that converting Saturdays into working days would deprive children of the two holidays a week that have been put in place to ensure their mental and emotional well being.

Govt explains stand to teachers

During a meeting with teachers’ union representatives, Sivankutty had said the government will soon issue an order stipulating 220 instructional days. “Anyone can move the court and obtain relief after the order is issued,” he had told teachers. He said the Director of General Education (DGE) would face contempt proceedings if it was not issued.

The unions had said the KER stipulates that DGE could waive up to 20 instructional days in an academic year in emergency situations. However, the government contented that no such situation existed as of now and convincing the court about such a waiver could be difficult.

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