Most schools can’t afford to spend week on cleanup

Written By Unknown on Jumat, 07 November 2014 | 22.23

MUMBAI: While schools across the city have welcomed the government's Bal Swachchta programme, most will not be able to follow the prescribed five-day plan as it would interfere with their celebrations and the academic calendar.

On November 5, the school state education department issued a letter to state board schools asking them to implement the Bal Swachchta programme between November 14 and 19. Schools have to undertake activities such as a clean-up drive, visit a health centre and a water purification centre, hold competitions on the theme of cleanliness, and make presentations on maintaining personal hygiene, keeping toilets clean and the importance of clean food.

Schools said emphasizing on cleanliness is a good idea, but they may not be able to spend an entire week on it. "We like the idea that the government wants to inculcate the virtue of cleanliness among children and wants them to learn through site visits, but it might not be practically possible to implement all the guidelines suggested," said Rajesh Pandya, teacher, Fatima Devi High School, Malad. He added that students might miss out on class work due to the week-long celebration. "We will not be able to involve all the children and hence those who are part of the activities will miss out on what is taught in class."

Some teachers, though, said the government is trying to leave an impression on young minds through these activities. "Activities such as personal hygiene and cleanliness have always been a part of school activities. By taking an initiative and sending circulars, the government wants to create a good image for the future vote bank," said a teacher of a Dadar school. Many are yet to receive the circular as they are on a Diwali vacation.

Principals said schools should be given the freedom to celebrate important days in their own way. "The situation in rural and city schools is very different from each other so blanket orders for all schools don't work well. Schools best know the issues that are important for them and must be allowed to decide on their own," said Prashant Redij, principal, Hilda Castelino High School, Kandivli.

Schools affiliated to CBSE and CISCE are yet to get any instructions. "We haven't received any circular yet but we have already planned that the teachers will put up a performance for students," said Avnita Bir, principal, R N Podar School.

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