By Manjima Dhakal Kathmandu, Dec. 19: The government has decided to end the current school-level academic session, which started belatedly as in the previous year, by mid-April. The session kicked off on June 15 because of the disturbances unleashed by the coronavirus pandemic.
This year, many schools started classes virtually from mid-June. However, many schools, mainly from remote parts of the country, unable to run virtual classes, started in-person classes from September. If the schools comply with the decision, this year’s academic session in going to be seven-to-ten months long rather than the normal 12 months.
Deepak Sharma, spokesperson for the Ministry of Education Science and Technology (MoEST), said if the situation went without the threat of new variant of the coronavirus, the academic session would end by mid-April. The government, intending not to disturb the upcoming academic session, has been in no mood to prolong this academic session.
Minister for Education Science and Technology Devendra Poudel has also mentioned the same thing time and again in his statements, saying that the government was committed to preventing any loss in the academic session. Amid the planning to end the session by mid-April, Suprabhat Bhandari, chairperson for the Guardian Federation, however, said the decision to end the academic session by then would not be justifiable as many schools in remote areas started classes just a few months ago.
Bhandari also accused the Ministry of favouring the urban area schools over the remote ones and said that the latter lot had no privilege of virtual classes enjoyed by the former types. He asked the Ministry to be flexible and give local governments the authority to decide on academic session by giving two months' time frame. There is a provision to teach at least 220 days in an academic session. But, many students can't get minimum learning achievement if the session ends by mid-April, said Bhandari.
That said, educationist Biddhyanath Koirala is also in favour of ending academic session by mid-April. Students can complete their course by that time if we make them engage on the basis of learning hours rather than calculating learning days, he said. If the teachers are able to make students learning-oriented rather than teaching-oriented, they can learn many things even within a short period of time, Koirala added. Though the government officials are stating that the academic session will end in mid-April, the school education stakeholders are in confusion about the end of the academic session.
Shiva Raj Panta, founder of Kathmandu-based Learning Realm School, said they were waiting for the government's formal decision to run the classes accordingly. He added that it would be in everyone’s interest to conclude this academic session by mid-April as most of the schools were in a position to complete the designed courses by that time.