Students of government schools pledged to keep their surroundings clean while education department officials briefed them on the Swachhta Pakhwada, a cleanliness campaign that started Saturday. The only catch: students also wrote their first half-yearly exam the same day. Now the schedule of the campaign is clashing with the half-yearly exam schedule of students in government schools. While the examination will go on till September 24, the cleanliness campaign will end on September 15.
Last year too, when the campaign was introduced in schools, its schedule clashed with the half-yearly examination of students. Teachers and students have to contribute throughout the fortnight in the run-up to Gandhi Jayanti on October 2, also the anniversary of the launch of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014.
Under orders from the Ministry of Human Resource and Development (MHRD) on August 14, all schools and educational institutions have been asked to observe Swachhta Pakhwada that may be converged with the launch of the ‘Swachhta Hi Sewa’ campaign that will go on till October 2.
While the datesheet has been created in a manner that all the classes get ample gap for preparing for their next examination, the teachers have criticised the UT education department for not learning any lesson from the poor results of government schools in the Class X board examination. They said even after two months of furore over the poor results, the officials did not understand the gravity of the situation.
They added that this was an unnecessary hassle for the students and the teachers. Instead of staying back in school on a daily basis, students should just go home and start preparing for their next exam, they said.
“Did the education department not know that the MHRD had issued orders to start the campaign on September 1? So, what was the point in keeping the examination from the same date?The department could have scheduled the examination after September 15 if necessary,” said Swarn Singh Kamboj, president, UT Cadre Education Employees’ Union.
Kamboj said that teachers were issued show-cause notices, suspended and humiliated. Even after all this, the department was trying to disrupt the routine of students and teachers during the examination.
The order states that the department has to conduct daily activities and then record videos and send them to the Ministry of Human Resource and Development through the Google Tracker or Drive meant for the exercise.
On Sunday, parents were also asked to come and meet teachers so that they could be apprised of the campaign. Students were later asked to clean classrooms, toilets, fans and kitchen area, videos of which have to be sent to the MHRD.
On September 5, also Teacher’s Day, students will observe ‘Green Day’ and plant saplings and work in the school garden. The rest of the days, leading up to September 15 have similar activities for students, all of which have to be documented by the education department and sent to the MHRD.
Arvind Rana, president, SSA Teachers’ Welfare Association, said, “The teachers are sincerely trying their best to improve the learning levels of all classes and result of board classes, but when unplanned and undesired activities come in during examination time, it breaks the momentum of hard work.”
He added that the attention of students and teachers should not be diverted during examination time. He has sent in a request to the Joint Secretary of the MHRD to issue revised instructions to conduct Swachhta Pakhwada activities after September 24.
Education Secretary or any other official of the UT education department could not be reached for comment.