The state’s school education department may increase the duration of art and physical education classes in Maharashtra schools by an hour to give students more time to develop their creative and athletic skills.
A delegation of teachers from across Maharashtra met education minister Vinod Tawde to demand more teaching time for these subjects. Currently, there are two-three sessions of art and physical education a week, which teachers said was insufficient.
Extra-curricular subjects are important for students as they impart life skills and provide a break from the academic rigmarole, said teachers. “After hours of continuous study, extra-curricular subjects help rejuvenate students’ minds. They make the day lighter and more enjoyable,” said Anil Bornare, a senior teacher from Swami Muktananda High School, Chembur.
Unfortunately, many schools use time allocated for art and physical education for other subjects. “This leaves students without any breathing space,” said Bornare.
Tawde said the department will look into this problem and ensure that schools do not use classes meant for extra-curricular subjects to teach anything else. “The teachers presented a variety of issues in our meeting, which lasted for one-and-a-half hours,” said Tawde. “We heard their complaints and will soon work out a plan to extend the duration of the classes by at least an hour.”
At the beginning of the academic year, the department made major changes to school timetables for classes 1 to 10. The number of periods was reduced to 45 from 50, but their duration was extended by 5-10 minutes.
The first period,which used be 30 minutes long, now lasts 40 minutes. The rest are 35 minutes each.
Some teachers said finding an extra hour would be difficult. “Increasing the duration of periods to 40 minutes did not affect us much because the number of periods was also reduced. But if the state adds an extra hour for extra-curricular subjects our day might become longer,” said Uday Nare, teacher, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri.