Parliament uproar over circular on Christmas

Uproar within and outside Parliament over reports that schools may remain open on December 25

December 15, 2014 03:49 pm | Updated November 16, 2021 04:50 pm IST - New Delhi

A file photo of Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani. Photo: S. Subramanium

A file photo of Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani. Photo: S. Subramanium

Three Cabinet Ministers were assigned to clear the air on the ongoing controversy over moves to mark December 25, Christmas, as Good Governance day in schools with events and competitions, The Union Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry put out a detailed clarification that was also posted on the websites of its various institutions dealing with schools.

The issue was raised in the Lok Sabha by K.C. Venugopal (Congress) who read out from a letter sent by the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti (NVS) Commissioner G.S. Bothyal to all regional offices on December 10, listing the activities to be organised in Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas (JNVs) on December 25.

The letter says: “This is with regard to celebration of the birthday of Atal Behari Vajpayee and Madan Mohan Malviya as ‘Good Governance Day’ on December 25’’ and lists declamation contest, quiz competition, screening of best practises on good governance and innovative programmes as the activities to be organised to “mark the occasion in its true spirit.”

Regional commissioners have been told to “encourage participation of students” and submit a “consolidated report specifying activities carried out in all JNVs,” with photographs/video recordings, to the Commissioner’s office on December 25 itself.

According to this letter, the Central Board of Secondary Education will also be organising competitions under the CBSE Expression Series on Good Governance on December 24 and 25. However, till date, the CBSE has not sent any separate circular to its affiliated schools.

School principals and parents point out that this is becoming a pattern with school education under the BJP government; earlier instances were Teachers’ Day when Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed children and the Swachch Bharat campaign on Gandhi Jayanti, October 2. “There seems to be a design to replace the original significance of the day by creating a new one,” noted one principal.

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