State board schools in the city have received a circular from the state school education department asking them to observe October 31 as Rashtriya Ekta Diwas (National Unity Day), even as they remain shut because of the Diwali vacation. The day is being celebrated to commemorate Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel’s birth anniversary.
School authorities and principals are miffed over repeated instructions at such short notice and constant interference of the government, which disrupts the academic calendar.
A similar directive was issued on October 2 regarding a cleanliness campaign, while another instruction had asked schools to stream Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech on teacher’s day.
“It is difficult to inform all the students at such short notice and expect them to skip their vacation. This should have been planned in advance as the government already knew the importance of the day. Such notices should be given to us at the beginning of the academic year,” Rajesh Pandya, vice president, Teachers’ Democratic Front, an association formed by city school teachers, said.
However, since the directive is not compulsory, most schools are likely to skip the celebrations.
According to the circular issued by the director of primary and secondary education, schools can celebrate the birth anniversary of Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel by hosting prabhat pheris and parades.
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and the University Grants Commission (UGC) has issued similar circulars for affiliated schools and colleges.
“We faced several difficulties in organising the screening of the prime minister’s speech. The government should have by now realised that such events can’t be organised in a day or two. Why would students and teachers sacrifice their holiday?” principal of a school in Bandra said.
However, even as most schools are reluctant to adhere to the circular, some are yet to receive it. “We haven’t received any such instruction yet,” said Anjana Prakash, principal, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri.