After asking schools to observe Yoga Day on a Sunday, Maharashtra education minister Vinod Tawde now wants school teachers to welcome new students by paying them a home visit a day before schools start. And as the state board schools are set to open on June 15, the day is again a Sunday.
The Praveshotsav, celebrating entry of students to schools, was started a few years ago by the then education minister, Rajendra Darda. To welcome students to school, local government representatives would hand out roses to children and distribute free books in case of government-aided schools.
However, this year, Tawde has requested that teachers go to their homes. “The idea is to make the students feel more comfortable and help them overcome any fear of coming to school,” Tawde told Hindustan Times. “Teachers will no longer be strangers.”
The minister said teachers can take help of social workers and other NGOs to reach out to the students. Also, schools can hold cleanliness drives and organise marches on June 15, the first day of school, he added.
After the confusion that followed the Yoga Day directive, Tawde clarified that following the programme was not compulsory and was just a step to curb absenteeism in schools. “This will be more beneficial for students in rural areas, where truancy is a problem,” he said “Teachers can meet parents and explain to them the importance of sending the child to school every day.”
Teachers, however, said it will not be practical for big schools to follow this programme. “We have hundreds of students on our rolls and we can’t visit them all,” said Rajesh Pandya, senior teacher, Fatimadevi English School, Malad.
They are willing to conduct the prescribed activities. “We visit our neighbourhood to ensure that students are enrolled in schools,” said Prashant Redij, principal, Hilda Castelino High School, Kandivli.