The teachers and heads of Delhi government schools have a new order from the government: Stay back one hour after school on Friday. While issuing the directive, the government pointed out that heads of schools, during staff meetings, focus more on discussing administrative issues than the quality of education. The circular, from the Directorate of Education (DoE), was sent to the schools on Friday. They have also been told that if any holiday falls on Friday, the meeting must be held on Thursday.
“It has been observed that during staff meetings, the heads of schools are focussing more on administrative issues, at the cost of monitoring core academic quality. Paucity of time is cited as the reason for the same,” read the notice sent to schools. Teachers and principals have been told that teaching, learning and academic discussions are pivotal activities and must be prioritised above all else.
With this one-hour extension on Fridays, the single shift school teachers will have to stay in school from 7.15 am to 2.45 pm or 7.45 am to 3.15 pm. Those functioning under the double shift — for morning schools — will have to stay in school from 6.45 am to 1.45 pm. For evening, the timing is 12.45 pm to 7.45 pm. There are, however, separate timings for summer and winter.
The government has also enlisted specific issues that need to be discussed during the one-hour Friday meetings. “The increased duration of one hour is to be purely used for monitoring and planning discussions on issues such as assessment of learning gaps, strategies to bridge gaps, maintenance and checking of notebooks, designing of class tests, preparing personal lessons, inputs about weak students and initiatives for improvement in their performance,” read the circular.
From time to time, the meetings can also be utilised to discuss curbing truancy, improving discipline and punctuality. Principals say this is a move in the right direction and will help in better planning. “This is a very good initiative as it will help teachers and the schools to prepare better. It is being practiced in all private schools, so why not have it in our government schools as well,” said Awadhesh Jha, principal of Sarvodaya co-ed Vidyalaya, Sector 8 Rohini.
However, the Government School Teachers Association (GSTA) raised its voice against the directive. “If this directive is not taken back, we will protest against it. It has nothing to do with improvement of the school or the children,” said Ajay Veer Yadav, general secretary, GSTA.