Good Governance day not compulsory

HRD ministry reacts to controversy

  • Directive to celebrate “Good Governance Day’ on December 25
  • To mark Vajpayee and Madan Mohan Malviya’s birth anniversary
  • Celebrations cast a shadow over Christmas

Like the great Telugu poet Sri Sri had said about poetry; there seems to be nothing that is left untouched by politics. Everything is fine with politics. While, education, for long, has been used as a tool for propagating agendas by the powers that be; the current generation of politicians are even using term holidays to make statements.

The recent controversy was raked over a report in the news daily Times of India stating that HRD ministry cancelled Christmas holidays in CBSE schools. Immediately after the report was published, the ministry denied any such directive and Smriti Irani took to twitter blaming the newspaper of misquoting. As a matter of fact CBSE schools have been directed to celebrate ‘Good Governance Day’ on December 25 on the occasion of birth anniversaries of former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Hindi Mahasabha leader Madan Mohan Malviya and were told to organise online essay writing competitions and documentary screenings and quiz competitions for the students (TOI report). However, Smriti Irani refuted the allegations and maintained that the competitions are not compulsory and that the essay writing would be conducted online.

A circular issued by the Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti by Commissioner GS Bothyalto this effect was released on Twitter – “You (principals of Navodaya Vidyalayas and assistant commissioners of Navodaya Vidyalaya headquarters) are requested to ensure that Good Governance Day is celebrated in all JNVs under your region. A consolidated report specifying activities carried out in all JNVs is to be submitted by email along with photographs/video recordings to this office on 25th December, 2014.Action taken in this regard is to be communicated to this office by return mail.”With the controversy heating up the ministry released a press release that clarified that essay competition is purely voluntary and requires just online submission. The release also said that no school needs to remain open for this and CBSE officials also need not come to work on 25 December.

The press release nevertheless comes across as just an eye wash as the directive given to KV schools and Navodaya Vidyalayas does not specifically mention that the school cannot be shut down, but the various activities including public speeches can only be organised with students in attendance and active participation was also called for. And latest reports indicated that IITs and IIMs were also asked to observe the Good Governance Day, but the circular to this effect was later removed from the AICTE website.

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