Schools in Mumbai have no time to mark Kalam’s birth anniversary | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Schools in Mumbai have no time to mark Kalam’s birth anniversary

A year after the death of former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who was known for his concern for children’s welfare, most Mumbai schools don’t seem to have time to mark his birthday.

mumbai Updated: Oct 15, 2016 00:09 IST
Puja Pednekar
After Kalam’s demise last year on July 27, education minister Vinod Tawde announced that schools in Maharashtra must observe October 15 as ‘Reading Day’ to inspire students to take up Kalam’s example and become voracious readers
After Kalam’s demise last year on July 27, education minister Vinod Tawde announced that schools in Maharashtra must observe October 15 as ‘Reading Day’ to inspire students to take up Kalam’s example and become voracious readers(HT File Photo)

A year after the death of former president APJ Abdul Kalam, who was known for his concern for children’s welfare, most Mumbai schools don’t seem to have time to mark his birthday. Although the Maharashtra education department asked schools to observe Saturday as Reading Day or ‘Vacchan Prerna Diwas’ to pay tribute to Kalam, many schools are giving it a miss owing to the ongoing end-of-the-term exams and Saturday-off. 

After Kalam’s demise last year on July 27, education minister Vinod Tawde announced that schools in Maharashtra must observe October 15 as ‘Reading Day’ to inspire students to take up Kalam’s example and become voracious readers. The department came up with a list of activities ranging from speeches, lectures, workshops, debates, reading sessions and others to inculcate a love of reading among the kids. 

Schools said they are in the middle of semester exams and hence cannot afford to keep extra-curricular activities. “There is no time to hold any programmes on Saturday since we are busy with semester exams. We might do it on a later date,” said Chandrakanta Pathak, principal, HVB Global Academy, Marine Lines.  

Additionally, schools that are closed on Saturday won’t hold any programmes either. “With Saturday being our weekly-off, we will skip the celebrations this year. We don’t want to call students on their holiday,” said Avnita Bir, principal, RN Podar School, Santacruz. 

Anticipating the busy schedule, some schools conducted a few activities in advance, over the last two weeks. “Due to the ongoing exams, we had a reading session on different topics four days back in our school to celebrate APJ Abdul Kalam's birth anniversary,” said Cynthia Dawson, principal, Swami Vivekanand High School, Chembur. 

Dawson said that Kalam had visited the school in 2013. “We still remember Kalam’s visit, he had charmed teachers and students alike. His ethos is still shared by all of us in the school,” said Dawson.

Some principals said that schools don’t need to depend on token gestures to keep Kalam’s spirit alive. “Why should students remember Kalam only on October 15? Kalam was against such tokenism. Encouraging children to read and do their best throughout the year is the best tribute to the late president,” said a principal from a Kandivli school on the condition of anonymity.