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Diwali vacation for schools across Maharashtra cut down to 4 days, govt cites delayed start to academic year as reason

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© Provided by The Indian Express

DIWALI VACATION for schools across the state has been cut down to four days, as compared to the usual 18 days. The state school education department on Thursday, through a government notification, announced that the Diwali vacation will be from November 12 to 16.

The vacation has been cut short from the point of view of completing the syllabus in the remaining academic year, which has already suffered a delay due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the notification said.

Schools and junior colleges have been instructed not to conduct any online lecture or examination during the four days.

Even as guidelines for starting online education for students across government schools were released on June 15, inadequate infrastructure to conduct online classes and lack of access to devices among large numbers of students in remote areas have been major challenges in this academic year. Teaching has not been possible online. A decision to physically start schools will be taken after Diwali, said state Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad.

Prashant Redij, secretary of Mumbai Principals Association, said it would have been better if the government had not announced a decision on the matter at all. “One can understand that the vacation needs to be cut short due to the Covid situation, but the current period is far too short,” he said.

According to the rules for primary schools, it is mandatory to have 230 work days in an academic year. For Classes I to V, teachers are required to work for a minimum of 200 days in an academic year, whereas for Classes VI to VII, 220 work days are mandatory.

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IOC’s Bach to skip Seoul ceremony, cites travel concerns

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — International Olympic Committee President Thomas Bach has decided against traveling to South Korea to accept a peace prize in person because of concerns about the coronavirus pandemic, officials said Saturday.

Bach was named the winner of the Seoul Peace Prize last month and was scheduled to receive the award in person Monday.

The new plan is to hold the ceremony with Bach participating remotely, officials told The Associated Press on Saturday.

“Because of the deteriorating situation in Switzerland and Europe, which makes traveling even more difficult, the IOC president, together with the IOC and the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation, has decided that his participation in the award ceremony on Monday would be virtual,” the IOC said in a statement to The AP.

Bach was awarded the prize for his role in staging the 2018 Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, which brought together Korean athletes from both sides.

A highlight of the 2018 Winter Olympics was the play of a joint South and North Korean women’s ice hockey team. They did not win any games but the squad was viewed as a sign of peace and reconciliation.

Bach’s inability of travel from Switzerland to South Korea highlights the massive problems facing Tokyo Olympic organizers, who are trying to organize the postponed Games next year in the middle of a pandemic. More than 15,000 Olympic and Paralympic athletes are to attend next year in Tokyo. Thousands more officials, judges, media, and broadcasters will also be on hand.

It is unclear if fans will be allowed to attend, or if non-Japanese fans will be allowed to enter the country.

Just over 1,700 deaths in Japan have been attributed to COVID-19, modest by world standards. The problem will be getting athletes into Japan from more than 200 nations and territories, where the virus might not yet be under control.


More AP sports: https://apnews.com/apf-sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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