When should the academic session begin in the state-aided primary and secondary schools'
The 13-member school education revamp committee and the government feel it should start from June 1. All teachers’ bodies, apart from the CPM-controlled All Bengal Teachers’ Association (ABTA), propose January 1.
The ABTA, the largest body of school-teachers, opposes both dates. It feels July 1 is the best time to begin academic sessions.
All three groups are, however, unanimous over one point — the existing system of a May 1 beginning needs to be changed.
According to school education department sources, the government, after a study of the systems followed in other states, came to the conclusion that June 1 is the ideal time to start sessions in schools. But it is finding it difficult to implement the shift in timings because the teachers’ bodies do not agree with it.
“Many factors have to be taken into consideration. The session has to start when the weather is conducive. Then, we have to consider the economic condition of guardians, too. The academic session has to begin at a time when there is no major festival around, so middle-class parents are not over-burdened in buying new books for their children,” pointed out Kanti Biswas, school education minister.
According to him, June 1 is the most suitable time, and states with identical climatic conditions as Bengal begin their academic sessions around then, too.
The shift in timings is one among the major components of a string of education reforms the government plans to introduce next year. The government organised a three-day workshop, ending Wednesday, to discuss the changes. The meetings, however, witnessed noisy scenes when teachers’ bodies objected strongly to the June 1 proposal.
The teachers pointed out that the monsoon does not set in by June, and the heat would affect schoolchildren. Presently, Madhyamik schools reopen in June-end, after a summer vacation.
Education department officials, however, feel the objection stems from the fact that a June beginning would mean a cut in the summer holidays.