A landmark decision for schools

Vishü Rita Krocha

In what can be termed as a ‘landmark decision’ for schools spread across the state of Nagaland, Saturdays will no longer be a school day. This decision announced by the Advisor for the Department of School Education & SCERT, Dr Kekhrielhoulie Yhome during the State Level Teachers’ Day celebration on September 5 has won the hearts of many teachers, parents and students alike, if not all.

To quote the advisor, “Saturdays will be strictly observed as holidays. Teachers are not slaves-they cannot afford to spend six days a week teaching. They need their family. Children too need time and environment that is outside the classroom for holistic development.”

Over the years, the system of education in the state has gone through quite a process. Especially with the advent of the internet and the digital boom, coupled with development in almost every sphere of life, school-going children are scripting an entirely different journey today. School students no longer have the luxury of time. It is not just the so called senior students in school but even a nursery student isn’t spared from attending school on a Saturday.

Besides their regular school activities, most school children today are enrolled in either one art class or the other while they also try to cope up with “too much homework” from school that has been a recurring complaint of several parents. In addition to this, the issue of “expensive school projects” has also been a concern for many parents and guardians. The argument is that not all parents can afford the expenses involved in the completion of a school project.

It is also not just the expenditure involved, but the investment that the parents or guardians make in terms of giving their time and resources. Not all parents are educated and this makes it another challenge for them even as they feel the need to send their children to tutors just so they can be at par with the other children in school. Oddly enough, the less fortunate end up spending more resources just for the sake of their children’s education.

But really, what is the point of sending our children to school if they are not taught well enough to be able to do their own homework or do their school projects on their own? As has been the experience of many parents, it is them who quite literally end up doing what is meant for their children.

Perhaps, declaring Saturdays as holidays will not solve all of these issues surrounding the education of school students. But one can quite understand the relief of parents, teachers and students, who have, all this while, borne the brunt of having a school day on a Saturday. Given the circumstances, things were different a couple of decades back. Those who did their schooling in the eighties or the nineties would barely remember a Saturday being a school day. Somehow, there was time to do other things too- things that were unrelated to learning in school but they were learning all the same.

As the advisor had rightly pointed out, we all need our family. And this is regardless of the professions we are in although spending quality time with our loved ones has seemingly become so much harder to come by these days. But perhaps, no school day on Saturdays will pave a way for everyone to reignite this family bond, which forms an essential part of growth and learning as human beings.
And perhaps, our children will also grow in the ways they need to outside the classroom, as they learn, experience and indulge in other healthy activities beyond the boundaries of their schools.

This is a guest editorial by Vishü Rita Krocha. She is the Publisher of PenThrill Publication and a senior journalist based in Kohima.