MUMBAI: Much to the displeasure of teachers, the education department on Thursday announced that schools would break for Diwali only for five days as opposed to the usual 21 days. The education department has declared November 12 to 16 as Diwali vacation when schools will have to suspend online learning as well.
Teachers groups from across the state had demanded that the school education department announce dates for Diwali vacation. Teachers had complained that they hadn’t got a break ever since online classes began in March as a the Covid-19 resultant lockdown began. School education minister, Varsha Gaikwad had assured teachers that a Diwali vacation would be announced and schools would also be instructed to not conduct examination during the festival period.
In a government resolution issued on Thursday, the education department said, “As per the rules of the Secondary School Code, the total number of holidays each academic year cannot exceed 76 days. For classes I to V, the number of working days should be at least 200 while that for class VI to VIII must be at least 220. With a view of completing the school curriculum in this academic year, the Diwali vacation for this year will be from November 12 to 16.” While many private and non-state board schools follow their own schedules for Diwali break, these days will be applicable to government and aided schools in the state.
Teachers are however very upset with the government’s decision. “This year, there were online classes even during summer vacation and also through Ganeshostav. Hence students and teachers have been constantly glued to their mobile phones or laptops. When the schools can have up to 76 days off, why can’t the government allow the traditional 21 days break for Diwali,” said Shivnath Darade of Maharashtra Shikshak Parishad.
Similarly, Rajesh Pandya from the Teachers Democratic Front said, “Irrespective of the pandemic, the academic year started around the right time (June 15) at most schools. Hence, reducing the Diwali vacation is unfair.”