Bandh rumours see poor attendance in state schools


Rumours that a Bharat bandh would be observed on January 3 led school students to keep away on Thursday when the schools reopened after the winter break. Schools, especially in the urban areas, saw nearly 40% lower attendance as students decided to extend their Christmas vacation by another day.
"When the schools reopen after any vacation, students are anxious about resuming classes. They always hope that the holiday is extended further and schools remain closed. When the rumour of a Bharat bandh began, it gave students a reason to stay home," headmaster of a Mapusa school said.
Many schools in South Goa closed early on the very first day of reopening as the student numbers were few. "The attendance was lower than 40%. This definitely affected teaching. Actual teaching could not take place and it was merely managing of classes," a teacher of a Margao school said. He said that nearly all schools across the state reopened after the festive break despite the bandh rumour.
Vithoba Dessai of the All Goa Secondary School Teachers' Association (AGSSTA) said that teaching was hampered at a time when the final examinations for the academic year 2012-13 are fast-approaching. "The end of the winter break marks the beginning of the second semester of the academic year. The final exams are fast-approaching and teachers were eager to resume teaching as they are worried about completing the syllabus in time so there is sufficient time for revision as well. The bandh rumour affected the teaching at such a time," he said.
He said that this was the first academic year where rearrangements were made so that the schools reopen after the winter break on January 3 instead of the usual January 2. In case of colleges, where the institutes reopened already on January 2, the attendance was normal as students saw no point in breaking the flow of teaching. But school students were tempted to extend their break.
"I resumed work after the festive break and it would be risky if we sent my son to school and he returned home and found himself unattended if the school was closed. We felt it was better he stayed inside the house instead," mother of a Class IV student, Shilpa D'Souza of Merces, said. [TOI]