Diwali break cut to 5 days, teachers irked over govt move

The state School Education Department on Thursday declared that Diwali holidays for students and teachers of Class 1 to 12 will be from November 12 to 16. During this period, all online classes and virtual teaching-learning activities in schools of Maharashtra will remain shut.

Owing to the queries raised by teachers, parents and students, the School Education Department released a government resolution (GR) dated November 5, 2020 stating, "With a view to complete the curriculum, schools will have holidays from November 12 to November 16 on account of the Diwali festival. Online education activities will be shut during this period."

In response to this direction, school teachers have questioned the cut in Diwali holidays from 21 days to just five days.

Shivnath Darade, general secretary of Mumbai Shikshak Parishad, said, "Teachers and students would usually get a Diwali break of 21 holidays in the past. But this year, the state has reduced it to just five days. The GR states teachers are entitled to 76 holidays in the entire academic year. This year, teachers did not receive the entitled holidays during summer and Ganesh Chaturthi festival due to the online classes."

Anita Kelkar, a school teacher, said, "We have been conducting online classes daily without taking holidays. It is a new system of teaching for us and we need a break from online screens, computers, laptops and smartphones."

Udit Kumar, another teacher, said, "Diwali is the only long break in the academic year. We understand the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the academic year but students and teachers should be given a longer break than just five days."

The state school education department has not given any information yet on when and how will schools reopen physically post Diwali break.

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