Mumbai schools unhappy with last minute change in holiday schedule

An eleventh hour circular from the deputy director of education and the BMC education department left authorities of various schools in the city fuming. According to the circular that was sent on Saturday, September 7, schools have been asked to give students four days of holidays (September 9-12) for Ganeshotsav.

The circular suggests that schools reduce the number of holidays from their summer and Diwali vacations, and shift them to Ganeshotsav. The decision comes after workers from the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS), demanded that both Ganeshotsav and Christmas be given equal number of holidays. However, they had asked the education department to request schools to reduce the Christmas vacations and increase the number of holidays for Ganeshotsav.

Santosh Gangurde, vice President, MNS, said, “When schools can give so many holidays for Christmas, they can give the same for Ganeshotsav, as it is celebrated by almost everyone in Mumbai. Hence, we requested the deputy director of school education and BMC education department to issue a circular to schools to adjust their holidays and give more holidays during Ganeshotsav.”

While it’s a holiday bonanza for the students, school authorities are displeased as the last-minute decision affects their academic schedule. They are in a conundrum as to how to communicate the same to the students, as the circular came on a weekend. Priyanka Rajani, principal, Vidyanidhi High School and Junior College, Vile Parle, said, “We plan our holidays in the month of May. We are yet to receive an official notification on the readjustment of holidays, but the education department should’ve sent it at least a month in advance.

We have a five-day Ganpati at school. Our children bring an eco-friendly idol and we have several competitions and awareness campaigns on the necessity of eco-friendly idols and how the environment is getting polluted due to non eco-friendly idols. They learn a lot in this festival, and during every festival, as we celebrate every festival in school. If we give a holiday during this period, how will the children learn about our culture and our festivals?”

MP Sharma, Director, GD Somani School, Cuffe Parade, said, “We bring a Ganesh idol in our school premises. We have been giving holidays on the first day, the Gauri Visarjan day and the tenth day of visarjan for quite a long time. We cannot adjust these continuous holidays at the last moment now.”

Baptist Pinto, principal, St Mary’s High School (SSC board), Mazgaon, said, “We got the circular on Sunday, and hence, we couldn’t convey the same to our students. When they come on Monday, we will have to announce that they will be given holidays from Monday to Thursday, as per the circular.” The circular stands true for schools of all boards in the city of Mumbai. The deputy director of school education, NB Chavan, was unavailable for comment. 

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