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    Taking An Off From School

    You cannot take a single leave during the school year
    Oh it is my brother’s wedding but Aanika has to go to school in the morning no, she can’t take an off

    Hello and welcome to Musings of a MasterNi, I am Minal Desai and here I share with you a medley of my unique experiences shaped by students teachers and life in general.

    Just last Sunday I had a lovely message from a parent who thanked me and the GGIS team for not reprimanding her about her son being off from school due to ill health and some travel. And that got me thinking, what makes us school so strict about attendance.
    There was a time when awareness about education amongst parents was very low and parents would not bother if the child did not attend school for a few weeks. This would then lead to huge gaps and the child would suffer. But times have changed and changed drastically. Parents today are far more aware of the importance of schools and academics.

    Also, learning only academic in nature? Is it not social? I am sure most of you would agree it is social as well. But then why do we schools belittle it. Besides the fact that we allow very little social learning in the classroom, we expressly forbid and prohibit students from taking leaves for anything other than severe sickness.

    And in that context let me kick the hornet’s nest. I want to ask what is wrong if a child takes a day or two off for no other reason but that he wants to. Or he has a cousin visiting and he wants to spend time with him. Or the grandparents are here or the father who is usually travelling is at home and the child really wants to stay home and be with the father? Would take a day or two off like this really affect learning? Do we really have to suit up and pack bags and send the child off to school every day as if it is indentured labour?

    And you know the problems such children face when they grow up? They become the awkward teenager who does not know how to greet an elder in the family Or the child who has no clue who his mama, chacha or cousin is. But ask him about the Bedouins of the Arabic world and their customs, he will gladly write you a short note. Because that was going to come on the grade 4 test. Shouldn’t your children also get acquainted with the crazy family that yours is? Won’t they have to deal with them anyway?

    Now I am sure as adults you will exercise discretion about taking an off. Not attending school every time there is a possibility of a long weekend or just because you are too lazy to get up after every Sunday evening party is not done. Most students meet the required 80% attendance and you might not want to take an off during board prelims but if the child misses a class test in grade 5, the world won’t come crashing down.
    Quite the contrary, the child will remember the trip they took with their cousins far more than what the teacher explained that day. If there is a havan or Shaadi at home, let the child immerse in it and see what your family is all about.

    Schools and academics are important, but they are NOT everything. All of us need a break and if your child wants one once in a while, respect it.
    So, what has been your craziest reason for taking an off from school and what has been the school’s reaction to it?

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