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Minister Sivankutty announces ban on non-academic activities during school hours

School students in Kerala will no longer be enlisted as audience members at public functions, ending a long-standing practice, announced Minister for General Education, V Sivankutty. Speaking to Manorama News, the minister stated that taking students to public events as audience members will be prohibited starting from the new academic year. Furthermore, directives have been issued to prevent the use of school buildings for non-academic activities during school hours. Minister Sivankutty emphasized the importance of playgrounds in schools, stating that no construction will be allowed on playgrounds and schools without them will be required to develop them within a specified timeframe. These reassurances were given during a discussion with students organized by Manorama News, ahead of the reopening of schools on June 1, with an estimated 4.2 million students expected to commence the new academic year.

In other news, there is a proposal to increase the number of working days in Kerala schools for the 2023-24 academic year. Twelve additional Saturdays may be included as working days for government and aided schools, pending a final decision to be taken on Wednesday. If approved, the total teaching days in these schools will increase to 204 days per year. The suggestion to extend the number of working days came from the Quality Improvement Programme (QIP) meeting of various school teachers’ organizations. Minister V Sivankutty explained that the new National Education Policy calls for a specific number of working hours in primary and high schools, necessitating an extension of education days to 220 per year. Previously, the State Government had proposed an extension of 28 more Saturdays, bringing the total number of teaching days to 220 per year, and this proposal was included in the draft of the academic calendar. The 12 extra Saturdays will be selected from weeks that do not have five consecutive working days or have at least one holiday between Monday and Friday. However, no week will have six consecutive instruction days. The decision to increase the number of working days faced opposition from teachers’ organizations, but after consultations, a consensus was reached to make Saturday a working day for weeks that have at least one holiday between Monday and Friday.


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