KP Sharma

The School Monitoring Division (EMD) of the education and skill development ministry (MoESD) is conducting a feasibility study to determine if  Saturdays should be  an off day for schools.

The survey, initiated by the division, aims to gather perspectives from various stakeholders, including leaders, teachers, support staff, and parents to facilitate an informed decision-making. It will gather information on the time required for curriculum delivery, co-curricular activities, tests, examinations and mandatory programs.

In addition, the survey will seek views on strategies for managing curriculum delivery, co-curricular activities, tests, examinations, and mandatory programs if Saturday is designated as a off day.

Further, logistical considerations for boarding students’ engagement and the roles of parents in student engagement during weekends will also be taken into account. The recommendations from the survey findings will be submitted to the ministry.

This initiative to collect information from the field comes in response to public outcry and criticism from teachers.

The criticism arose when the committee tasked with studying the possibility of declaring Saturday as an off day expressed reservations and raised concerns about potential negative implications.

Teachers across the country have voiced frustrations over the committee’s decision, citing a lack of inclusivity and detailed study based on field personnel.

They alleged the recommendation to be based on the perspectives of a few individuals and failed to incorporate the voices and actual scenarios from the field. The recommendation has been labeled as baseless and inadequate to take concrete decisions.

In response to public criticism directed at the government for not fulfilling their promise, it has been learnt that some Members of Parliament (MPs) have discussed the matter within the party.

They have urged the Prime Minister and other cabinet ministers to honour the commitment or damcha, as the party put it, when  campaigning for power, stating that denying this promise would be a mistake with serious implications for the party’s future.

The government now faces a complex situation regarding which recommendation to consider when deciding on the issue. Globally, it is customary for the government to respect the committee’s recommendation, but doing so in this case might mean it cannot fulfill its promise.

At this point, while respecting the committee’s recommendation is important, the government may consider the broader implications of its decision on public perception and its electoral prospects. On the other hand, if the government chooses to prioritise the recommendations of the survey findings over those of the committee, it could raise questions about the credibility and purpose of the committee.

The time and effort invested by the committee in conducting their work may appear to have been wasted if their recommendations are not ultimately considered. This situation could potentially undermine confidence in the committee’s credibility and effectiveness in fulfilling its mandate, according to some teachers.

According to media reports, Education and Skill Development Minister Lyonpo Yeezang Dee Thapa has affirmed that the government will uphold its promise regarding the issue of declaring Saturdays as off days.

A decision is expected to be made in the coming months.