Kozhikode Kendriya Vidyalaya No 1’s morning shift for class 1 to 5 is from 6.50 am to 12 pm, while the second shift for class 6 is from 12 12.30 pm to 6 pm.

Early morning and noon shifts at Kendriya Vidyalaya Kozhikode angers parents
news Protest Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 15:38

Avanthika, an eight-year-old student at Kendriya Vidyalaya No 1 in Kozhikode district, gets up at 3.45 am every day so that she can leave her house at 4.30 am, and after a 15-20 minute walk, catch her school bus at 5 am. Her house is 25 kilometres away from school and her classes start at 6.50 am.

Ananthu, a seven-year-old who lives 24 kilometres away from school near Ulliyeri, boards his school bus at 5.30 am.

Deepa, a parent from Koyilandi, says that children go to school without proper sleep. “They are stressed and always sleepy. Imagine the trouble of waking up a six- or seven-year-old at 4 am. We have no idea when this trouble will end,” she says.

The students and parents of Kozhikode Kendriya Vidyalaya No 1 have been anxious for the last one year, ever since the school implemented shift-based classes. The morning shift — 6.50 am to 12 noon — is for class 1 to 5 students, while the second shift — 12.30 pm to 6 pm — is for class 6 to 12 students.

It has been more than a year since the school implemented the shift-based classes, but many are still struggling to adapt to the new system.

“Small kids have to get up early in the morning, which makes them tired throughout the day. They will not be able to have breakfast on time, which leads to unhealthy toilet habits and less concentration on studies,” N Prasad, president of the school’s Parent–Teacher Association (PTA), told TNM.

According to the school’s PTA, 45 percent of the students are from families of former servicemen, and live far from the school.

Prasad said that the new system is a cause for concern for the students (10 to 17 years) in the second shift as well. “Though the classes end at 6 pm, students from far-off places reach home by 8 pm. Parents of female students are worried as they have to walk home alone after the school bus drops them. Besides, they find it difficult to concentrate on studies after reaching home so late,” he said.

The school switched to a shift-based system following an incident on the campus in September 2018. A portion of the building collapsed. A few days later, the then Kozhikode District Collector, UV Jose, directed the school management not to conduct any classes in the old building of the school as it was in a deplorable condition. With the directive, 22 classes were rendered unusable. This reduced the number of classrooms in the school premises.

“Tired of the shift system, by August this year, some parents even collected more than Rs 45 lakh to construct a temporary building until a new building was sanctioned. That was the only step we could take to help our children; but that did not work out either,” Prasad said.

After the parents collected the fund, Union Minister Human Resource Development Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank wrote a letter, in November this year, to the school management and Parliament member MK Raghavan, stating that as per the Education Code of the Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan (KVS), PTAs of Kendra Vidyalaya schools are not supposed to collect or maintain funds.

“Then, we gave the amount collected back to the parents. We have given petitions (to sanction new building) wherever possible. We hope the construction will begin soon,” Prasad added.

On Tuesday, the Student Federation of India or SFI [affiliated to the CPI(M)] took out a march towards the school, protesting against the shift system and delay in sanctioning the new building. The march turned violent after the protesters barged into the school, pushing the police security personnel out of the way.

As per reports, over the last one year, almost 50 students have taken a transfer from the school.

Incidentally, Thiruvananthapuram Pattom Kendriya Vidyalaya, too, has a similar shift system due to a large number of students. But in Thiruvananthapuram, it is a different picture. “Since most of the parents are working, they are happy with the morning shift. There are no issues as far as the evening shift is concerned, as many children stay within the city limit,” a parent of a student at Thiruvananthapuram Pattom Kendriya Vidyalaya told TNM. 

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