The onset of Shravana masa, an auspicious month in the Hindu calender, has been accompanied by a controversial decision of the Education Department in Bidar.
To ensure participation of children and department staff, including teachers, in religious festivities, the Deputy Director of Public Instruction (Administration) in the Department of Public Instruction issued a circular allowing Block Education Officers (BEOs) to use their discretion to grant half-day holidays on Mondays during the Shravana masa.
However, higher-ups told the Deputy Director to withdraw the order and explain why this was done.
A source told The Hindu that the official went ahead with the circular despite being denied permission by higher-ups.
The circular states that primary as well as high schools could declare half-day holidays on three Mondays and a holiday on one Monday. Schools can make this arrangement so that teachers and children could take part in religious programmes. It states that headmaster should make a note in the academic calender of events and get approval from the Block Education Officer. The circular states that this could be part of the four days of holidays granted to schools to observe festivals that are peculiar to the region.
V.P. Niranjan Aradhya, Fellow, Centre for Child and the Law, National Law School of India University, said that there was no need for the department to issue such a circular. “It is not a major festival. It is not in good taste as other communities too will demand holidays,” he explained. He added that schools were not able to meet the minimum teaching days stipulated in the RTE Act, which is 200 for lower primary schools and 220 for higher primary schools.