Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar on Saturday responded to the question of controversy on the decision taken by his government to reduce school holidays in the state. On Tuesday, the Education Department of Bihar government published a new holiday calendar for state-run schools in which it has shortened the vacations for Durga Puja, Diwali, and Chhath Puja in order to increase the number of working days. The number of festive holidays in the new calendar have been slashed to 11 from 23 between September and December.
“What’s wrong in educating children?… We want that children get good education on time,” said the Bihar Chief Minister on Saturday while speaking to reporters in Patna.
In an attempt to bring uniformity across the state, the government asked the district education officers (DEOs) to announce additional holidays with permission from the Education Department, said the officials according to a PTI report.
#WATCH | Patna: Bihar CM and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar on reducing the number of festive holidays in government schools in Bihar says, “What’s wrong in educating children?… We want that children get good education on time.” pic.twitter.com/TkJGAo8ael
— ANI (@ANI) September 2, 2023
As per the calendar, Raksha Bandhan on August 31 was declared a “restricted” or an optional holiday while holidays for Durga Puja have been slashed to three days from earlier six days and only one-day holiday each will be given for Diwali and Chitragupta Puja, and two days for Chhath Puja.
Earlier, schools had a nine-day vacation from Diwali to Chhath Puja, as per the notification.
Irked by the decision, a meeting of Bihar Elementary Teachers Association was held on Wednesday which was attended by teachers from various state-run schools. The teachers’ union demanded withdrawal of the decision and warned of lockouts in schools.
The union blamed the government for polarising politics and alleged that holidays on account of Hindu festivals have been cancelled or shortened while leaving holidays for Muslim festivals untouched.
“We fast on many festivals including Chhath and Durga Puja. How will we be able to teach in such a situation? Bihar government is doing appeasement politics,” the teachers said, as per ABP report.
“We teach more than 250 days in a year. We get tired. Are human beings. There is a need for leave, but the government argued that it is necessary to attend school for 220 days in a year, so the leave is being cut,” the added.
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