Edu dept's anti-crackers instruction to colleges bombs due to bad timing

While the department issued instructions to conduct awareness campaigns against fire crackers on Monday, colleges had already shut for Diwali holidays

This is yet another effort by the state education department that has bombed due to bad planning – the state’s department of Higher and Technical Education issued a circular instructing colleges to hold awareness campaigns for students on the ill effects of firecrackers.

The education department’s circular against firecrackers has come nearly two weeks late. File pic for representation
The education department’s circular against firecrackers has come nearly two weeks late. File pic for representation

The only hitch is, none of the students will actually benefit from the circular - issued on November 9 - as colleges had shut for Diwali holidays nearly a fortnight ago.

The circular is based on a Supreme Court order dated October 16, which stated, “The Union government and all the state governments will give wide publicity, both in print and electronic media, to the ill effects of fireworks and advise people accordingly. We also direct teachers/lecturers/assistant professors/professors of schools and colleges to educate the students about the ill effects of the fireworks.”

However, activists and college principals alike have pointed out that the education department acted too late in getting the circular out. While today is Diwali, colleges had shut for the holidays long ago. As a result, many of the principals themselves may be unaware of the notice.

“Students and staff members have not been in college for 10-12 days. The college will only reopen next week, so how does the government expect this circular to reach anyone in any college, let alone students? Even principals might not have seen this circular,” said Vijay Joshi, principal of KJ Somaiya College in Vidyavihar.

Activists claim that the department is too late for any form of awareness for this year Diwali. Principals claim that it’s been two weeks since students came to college so this circular cannot be put into force in literal sense.

Even the minister of state for Higher and Technical Education, Ravindra Waikar, was unaware of the ill-timed notice. “I am not aware about the circular. I will have to check who came out with it,” he told mid-day.

The circular
The circular highlighted three main points:
>> The circular sought to discourage students from using firecrackers, especially loud and high-power ones 
>> It wanted colleges to educate students about the ill effects of noise and air pollution
>> It also wanted students to be made aware of the legal aspects of the use of crackers and the pollution caused, although it did not specify the details

Voices

Sumaira Abdulali, Activist
Though this was a good move, it’s too late for the circular to be released to colleges now. The circular should have been issued when colleges were open. But the circular should be used for forthcoming Diwalis. Because of such campaigns, many students tell their parents they do not want to burst loud crackers.

Manju Nichani, Principal, KC College
While our degree college students left for holidays almost two weeks ago, even the junior college students have been away for nearly ten days. How do we reach out to students now? However, our National Service Scheme unit had conducted an awareness campaign.

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