iconimg Friday, September 04, 2015

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
Mumbai, September 13, 2013
Students of more than 150 Christian schools in the city will not have to lose out on their Christmas holidays to make up for the extended Ganeshotsav break this year. Following objections from Catholic community groups, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) education department, in charge of primary schools, said Christian schools could adjust these holidays according to their convenience.

A meeting was convened on Thursday by Janet D’Souza, vice president of the State Minorities Commission with the BMC education officer, RR Bhise, and representatives of Catholic groups, including Association of Concer ned Catholics (AOCC), Catholics for Preservation of Faith (CPF) & Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum (MCYF).

These groups had objected to the September 7 declaration ordering schools to cancel two days of the Christmas vacations to make up for the extended Ganpati break.

“It was decided that the earlier order, which stated that schools should be working on December 21 and 31, has been withdrawn,” D’Souza said, adding that the waiver is applicable only to Christian schools.

The groups have demanded that the state government issue a circular withdrawing the September 7 order immediately. Despite repeated attempts, Bhise was not available for comment.

AOCC secretary Judith Monteiro said,“Bhise told us that there was no intention t o hur t the sentiments of the Catholic community by cancelling Christmas vacation dates.’’

The groups also demanded the primary and secondary education departments co-ordinate their holiday calendars, as there is a week’s difference between Diwali vacations for primary and secondary sections.

If schools make up for the extra Ganeshotsav holidays by cutting short the Diwali break, this disparity will make it difficult for authorities and parents with children in both sections.

The group sought protection against attacks by political parties for keeping schools open.

“Activists from MNVS forced some schools to shut on Tuesday. They do not have the authority to do this,’’ said Monteiro.