BY AUGUSTO RODRIGUES
Schools reopen for the 2023-24 academic year on Monday, and children, parents, teachers and society are abuzz with new excitement for the academic year in Goa. Saturday saw parents along with children shopping for stationery, school bags, raincoats, shoes and assorted paraphernalia taken to school.
“I already started attending tuition classes along with my other colleagues. Being in the tenth standard is a different feeling. I am nervous and also excited to go back to school,” acknowledges Nita as her mother bargains with a raincoat seller in the capital city.
“He (the raincoat seller) is quoting whatever he wants, as there are just a few shops selling raincoats, because it has not yet started raining. The prices will crash once the rains start,” professes Nita’s mother.
Most stationery shops appeared to be doing good business though, with shops in Mapusa witnessing a last-minute rush in comparison to the shops in the capital city.
“Compared to the pre-Covid days, sales are very bad. I have been informed that one school in Panjim is providing exercise books to all their students as a package and that could be one reason why we are not seeing any sales,” opined Charlton Fernandes of Casa J D Fernandes, one of the oldest stationery shops in the capital.
“I think it is too early to comment on the sale of exercise books as most students are informed of the number of books to buy when school starts. I will get the correct picture after a week,” thinks Ajit Singbal of Singbal Book House.
“Please come later in the evening. As you can see, the crowd is swelling. You can see that the demand is big. We can discuss it after the people have gone,” said a staff member of Suraj Book Stall in Mapusa.
“It is going to be nice to be back in school and teaching a batch of new students that have joined the nursery. Honestly, I do not think it means much to them as schooling is still fun for them, and the New Education Policy still maintains learning as fun in the primary section,” explains Agnes Furtado, who is a teacher in a primary setup.
“Now that the holidays are over, my son is upset that he will not be able to use his mobile as he was during the holidays. There is a time for everything and just because his friends can use the mobile when they want, my son thinks he can too,” declares Shallet as she tunes back into the grind of school days.
“The start of school means a change in our daily living pattern since hubby and I have to adjust our chores according to school timings. Life now will begin early and finish late at night,” she smiles.
Villages in Goa will have to reset their clocks to school timings, with village streets picking up activity early in the morning, as most children will either walk to school or be dropped to school by their parents.
“I will be leaving my bakery by 6 am from Monday as most parents will be expecting bread very early for their children. I did catch a few extra winks during the holidays,” confessed Camil, as he blew his horn to indicate fresh bread was around the corner.
It is not just the villages, but the cities too will see a change in the standard of education. Secondary and higher secondary students are palpably eager to see the changes in the education setup being brought by the New Education Policy (NEP) while society awaits a change in mindset.