The title of this entry seem to be a bit rhetorical but nevertheless it warrants a bit of attention where additional holidays is concerned. Like it or not, after a request made by a certain group, this respective ministry has decided to grant that extra holiday as a replacement holiday.
What exactly is a replacement holiday? Well, for one it means that if the given holiday is on a Friday, then a replacement for that day will have to be carried out on another day, usually a Saturday. Which means that, if on that Friday there are seven periods of teaching and learning, then all those seven lessons that have been planned for that Friday will have to be carried out on a set Saturday. Which also means that if a class of students were supposed to learn English, Mathematics, Science and History on that day, then it is their human right to be taught those subjects on the replacement day, just as they would be taught on that Friday.
And the school and teachers also have the responsibility to disseminate this knowledge through the processes of teaching and learning as if it were a normal school day. Right? Wrong! Because in reality, this does not necessarily happen. There have been many occasions when this arrangement simply fall flat.
In many situations classes on those replacement holidays were never actually replaced. Instead on the days when replacement classes should have been conducted, schools decide to carry events and activities other than the classroom teaching and learning process; the most popular one being 'gotong-royong". And the usual rationale for this replacement activity is the false pretence that someone from the department or ministry will be coming and the school needs to look spic and span.
And so, instead of bringing their English, Mathematics, Science and History books, students bring to school rags and pails and brushes and newspapers to clean up their classrooms and any other room in the school the administrators can think of.
Of course, this does not always happen on replacement school day, nor does it happen in all schools. But the fact that it is being mentioned here is testament that it does happen and something has to be done about it. Or does the relevant authorities need to 'gotong-royong' first before they can look into this matter seriously?