NEW DELHI: Once again under the Opposition fire for purportedly cancelling Christmas holiday for school-going children so that they take part in a ‘Good Governance’ quiz and essay competition, the HRD Ministry on Monday issued a formal statement clarifying that no school had been directed to stay open on December 24-25 by the CBSE.
“The proposed instructions of the CBSE are to conduct an online essay competition on December 24 and 25, which is completely voluntary… students, if so desire, can participate from their homes or any other place that offers online access,” the HRD Ministry statement said.
It was also added that no official of the CBSE was required to come to office for the online essay competition, during the Christmas vacation period.
The government too was forced to deny that a circular was issued by the CBSE asking the schools to stay open on Christmas to hold essay writing competition to mark ‘Good Governance Day’ on the occasion Atal Behari Vajpayee’s birthday.
Opposition MPs raised the issue in both the Houses of Parliament demanding an explanation from the government saying the reported move could hurt the sentiments of the minorities.
From its end, the HRD Ministry further clarified that the Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, which were in the centre of the reported controversy, are residential schools and are shut factoring in on climatic conditions. This was preceded by a Twitter war between the Minister and a reporter of a prominent national daily.
The HRD Ministry said: “The 25th of December will be celebrated in those schools which do not have any winter break. In such schools, since it is a public holiday on December 25, the schools will also remain closed. As a residential school, however, the school functions as children continue to remain there and these children will have the opportunity to participate in the essay competition, if they so wish.”
The Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti has clarified that no other activities for this competition are being held. Students of Kendriya Vidyalayas, which will also remain closed, can participate voluntarily. A circular issued by the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti dated December 10 had stated that the birthday of former Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee and also Madan Mohan Malviya will be celebrated as ‘Good Governance Day’ on December 25.