Come June 17, going to school will no longer be an uphill task for tiny tots. According to the latest Government Regulation (GR), aided schools have been asked to create a friendly and a welcoming environment by decorating walls, putting up charts and posters on the walls. This initiative is expected to make the first-day-in-school experience easy on newcomers.
Schools have also been asked to visit their homes and talk to the children and their parents. A fun festival will also be organised with the help of management, local organisations, government organisations, sports organisations, women’s organisation and senior citizen groups.
Under the Right to Education act (RTE), aided schools earlier would distribute free textbooks, but with the new resolution, flowers would also be distributed to children on their first day of school. Sabina Zaveri, principal of an aided school and convener for South Mumbai schools said, “We always distributed textbooks, but welcoming with a rose would be a first and we are looking forward to it. Every child needs to feel special.”
She also added that it is a great initiative by the government and will definitely ease the pressure of a first day that scares most children. However, Raju Kamble (name changed) a coordinator with an NGO sounded skeptical and said, “We welcome this move by the government. But, the focus of this festival is on rural areas. BMC schools should also have similar programs. Moreover, even the textbooks don’t reach them on time.”
According to the resolution, schools will have to conduct a morning walk with teachers followed by distribution of books and flowers to students as part of the welcome festival. The schools have been asked to request the zilla parishad, panchayat samiti, local corporator, municipal council and municipal corporation members to welcome the students on their first day.
N B Chauhan, Deputy Director of school education for Mumbai said, “We used to have celebrations for students earlier, but only in rural areas. Now the same will be celebrated at BMC and aided schools as well. The initiative hopes to create a child-friendly and a happy atmosphere in schools. This will be done as per the Right to Education rule for compulsory and free education for children.”