A comedy or errors and orders, which contradicted one another, have resulted in hundreds of BMC schools across Mumbai facing a strange situation — where they have to call a halt on term exams immediately and resume exams after an unscheduled 15-day Diwali break. Students and teachers of Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) schools have been compelled to put their holiday plans on hold. The reason? Lack of communication between BMC’s education officers, the state government and school authorities regarding actual holiday dates.
Earlier this year, state minister for school education Rajendra Darda had declared November 1 to November 18 as final Diwali vacation dates for primary and secondary sections. But as the BMC education officer didn’t convey the message to school authorities, they declared holidays from October 21 to November 10 for secondary section and October 24 to November 8 for primary section students. The schools were merely following an earlier circular sent by the BMC’s education department, dated December 28, 2012. BMC education officials, on their part, claim they did not receive any circular of changed dates from the minister’s office.
MiD DAY had reported on September 12 how two different circulars sent to schools from two different authorities had led to confusion. Many BMC schools assumed they had to follow the minister’s orders and held the first semester examination till October 25. But on Friday, Additional Municipal Commissioner (City), Mohan Adtani had a meeting with BMC Deputy Education Officer, Shambhavi Jogi, to resolve the issue. They concluded that as they hadn’t received any notification from the minister’s office, they would ask BMC schools to follow the earlier circular and have Diwali vacation from October 21 for secondary section and from October 24 for primary section.
Though an official notification still hasn’t been issued to all schools, on Saturday morning, many BMC school principals received a message asking schools to shut for Diwali from October 21 to 24. They were told to resume exams after the vacations. When contacted, Jogi said, “We had a meeting and decided that all BMC schools will follow the BMC vacation circular. Though the minister had announced new dates for Diwali vacation, we didn’t get that circular from his office.”
A BMC teacher, Rakesh Kamble (name changed on request), said, “We had presumed that we had to follow the minister’s order. So we started the semester examination in our schools. We have exams till October 25. Is the BMC above the school education minister?” Another teacher Ashish Chaudhary, (name changed on request) said, “Secondary school teachers have decided to conduct the remaining exams after the vacations. After they received the message on Saturday morning they have informed their students not to come from Monday.” Vice President of Shikshak Sabha, Urdu medium, Nasiruddin Shaikh, said, “Additional Municipal Commissioner (City) asked the BMC deputy education officer on Friday to ask all civic schools to follow the circular.”