The Human Resource Development Ministry has issued a circular to government-run schools asking them to stay open on Christmas Day on account of a proposed ‘Good Governance Day’ and to hold a quiz competition, the Times of India reported today.
The circular, which has been sent to all Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)-affiliated schools, has asked them to hold the quiz competition as part of Good Governance Day to mark the birthdays of BJP leader and former prime minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee as well as of the late Madan Mohan Malviya, a leader of the Hindu Mahasabha, which is a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh affiliate and a forerunner of today’s Bharatiya Janata Party.
The day will reportedly be spent in various activities like an essay writing competition, which is aimed at increasing student participation, the newspaper said.
The report states that Union government-run Navodaya Vidyalas have issued a circular to their schools, stating that the CBSE will organize an essay writing competition on December 24 and 25. However, private CBSE schools have not yet been given any such instructions.
A senior CBSE official told the newspaper that asking schools to remain open on Christmas Day would be tricky, especially if they are Christian schools. “I have been told about December 24 and that is still being worked out. Schools have not been informed anything yet,” the official told the paper.
The report states that schools will be able to submit their best performances both online and offline. The best 36 entries will be awarded Rs 2,500 and a certificate.
A school principal expressed his concern about the HRD ministry’s plan to TOI, saying that such a move would be unfair to Christian students. “The day has religious importance which will be inconvenient for Christian staff and students,” the principal was reported as saying.
However, HRD Minister Smriti Irani has denied any such directive via her Twitter account, saying all schools would be closed for Christmas and that the “voluntary” essay competition was to be held online only. She has also demanded a retraction from the newspaper.