Students might have to spend their Diwali vacations preparing projects on Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel, the first President of India. On Wednesday, the state school education department asked all schools to observe ‘National Unity Week’ from October 31 to November 6 to mark Patel’s birth anniversary.
Since schools in Maharashtra will be closed for Diwali vacations until November 12, the department, in a circular, has given a list of activities for schools to choose from to commemorate Patel’s birth anniversary. They must choose any two activities and conduct them once school reopens, states the circular issued by Nand Kumar, principal secretary of the department.
Some of the activities can be given to students as ‘holiday homework’, states the circular. “The week will be celebrated as National Unity Week across the country. During the vacations, schools can ask students to read about Patel on the internet and do a project on him,” said Kumar.
Other activities mentioned in the circular include slogan writing and coming up with creative themes. The best among these will be awarded prizes at the school level, states the circular.
Lectures and competitions should be organised for teachers and schools can arrange for students to meet with soldiers residing in their neighbourhood are among the other suggested activities.
However, teachers have said that they won’t be able to conduct any of these activities. “All schools in Maharashtra will be on Diwali break. I don’t think anybody will conduct these activities,” said Uday Nare, teacher, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri. “The week will be over by the time schools reopen.”
Some schools have already conducted activities on their own. “Before closing for Diwali, we have held a small programme on vigilance awareness for students,” said Father Francis Swamy, principal, St Mary’s School, Mazgaon (ICSE).
Even the CBSE had asked schools to observe a vigilance awareness week as a tribute to Patel.