Christians upset over losing Christmas holidays
The Maharashtra government plans to adjust the holidays against the ongoing Ganeshotsav.
Posted on September 10, 2013, 4:29 PM
In a memorandum to Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan and other top officials, three major Catholic organizations have said they are feeling “hurt” by the decision of the education department to adjust the extra Ganeshotsav holidays against the Christmas vacation.
The memorandum has been sent by Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), Catholics for Preservation of Faith and Maharasthra Christian Youth Forum.
This year, the state government gave two additional days’ vacation to all Mumbai schools to enable people take part in the Ganeshotsav without worrying about missing school schedules.
According to the Catholic groups, the education department has not declared these as new holidays, but adjusted two holidays – Dec 23 and Dec 31 – from the annual Christmas vacation.
The Catholic groups have said that while they have no objections to granting extra holidays for Ganeshotsav, why should these be adjusted against the Christian religious week of Christmas and New Year.
“We feel betrayed by the education department. It is supposed to set an example of equality, justice, etc. in the young minds. It is not only being unfair but setting an open example of disparity,” said AOCC general secretary Judith Monteiro.
The groups said that since Christmas service is on midnight of Dec 24, cancellation of Dec 23 holiday gives the Christians little or no time to prepare for the Eucharistic celebrations.
Besides, the Christians will not be able to travel out to celebrate Christmas with their parents, grandparents or relatives as the school will remain open till the evening of Dec 23.
In addition, the liturgical calendar of the Catholic community celebrates Jan 1 as the community New Year universally and they termed as “unfair” the cancellation the New Year eve holiday and reopening the schools that day.
The Catholics demanded that the decision should have been left to the discretion of the schools in the state to adjust the extra holidays granted during Ganeshotsav against their weekly holidays which could have prevented the present situation.
Monteiro said that the representatives of the Catholic community would call on Chavan to explain the scenario and urge him to reverse the decision.
Robbing Peter to pander to MNVS..DNA Sept 11th
Holidays | Christians want back their two days
Vinamrata Borwankar @vinamratab
Mumbai: Christian groups are upset with the education department for giving two extra days of holiday to students during Ganpati by cutting short Christmas vacation.
The education department issued a circular declaring two additional holidays (September 11 and 12) after the Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarathi Sena (MNVS) demanded that schools in the city be shut for five days during the festival.
The two extra days were allotted by cancelling the holidays on December 30 and 31.
Judith Monteiro, secretary of the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC), wrote a letter on behalf of the Christian community to education officers. He said: “We feel betrayed by the department. It is sad that the education department which is supposed to set an example of equality, justice in the young minds is not only being unfair but setting an open example of disparity.
“We fail to understand how the department can bring happiness to one community while depriving another. The Catholic-Christian community is also an integral part of Mumbai and India and while the pledge in our schools claims ‘all Indians are my brothers and sisters’ we feel the department is giving our community the step-child treatment.”
The group wants the cancellation of December holidays to be reversed. “The entire week around Christmas is important and while we are happy that kids have got two extra days now, the department cannot discriminate against another community,” Monteiro said.
Ravindra Bhise, BMC’s education officer, has promised to meet the group. “We need to accommodate everyone and hence we will work out a solution.”
Schools argued that changes because of political pressure disrupt the working schedule. “It is good that the children are getting the days off. But had we been informed at the beginning of the year, we could have planned accordingly,” Father Bosco D’Mello, principal of Don Bosco school, Matunga, said. “Sudden holidays disrupt schedules, especially for students of class X.”
The sudden change also caused trouble for students. “The kids had exams today but we received a text message in the morning that the school will be shut and exams have been postponed. They woke up early to revise for their tests,” said a parent whose child studies at Arya Vidya Mandir, Bandra.
But education officials said the leaves need not be adjusted during Christmas vacation. “Schools can adjust the two days during Diwali or Christmas vacations. The move was not aimed at hurting anyone’s sentiments,” NB Chavan, deputy director of school education, Mumbai division, said.
Holidays till Thursday stump schools, parents
…TOI Mum Sept 11th
Shreya Bhandary TNN
Mumbai: Even as the surprise call for a four-day break for Ganeshotsav till Thursday has thrilled students across Mumbai and Navi Mumbai, schools and parents face tremendous problems trying to manage the unscheduled holidays. Considering that the circular announcing holidays from September 9 to 12 was released late on Saturday night, schools could not get hold of it on time. This, in turn, delayed the process of informing parents, which led to total confusion on Tuesday morning.
TIMES VIEW:This sudden decision smacks of needless tokenism and populism. The government must keep in mind people don’t remember the number of extra holidays they have got in a calendar year when they queue up to vote; they have more important things on their mind (like runaway price rise and the general perception of lack of safety on the street). Anyway, most parents and schools have been severely inconvenienced by this last-minute decision (and the inconvenience is going to stretch to other vacations). This government’s penchant for twelfth-hour decisions, particularly in the education sector, seems devoid of any logic whatsoever.
Schools may now be open on 3 Saturdays ..TOI Sept 11th
Shreya Bhandary TNN
Mumbai: The education department suggestion that schools adjust Ganeshotsav holidays by reducing Diwali and Christmas vacations has not gone down well with many. Several schools now plan to avoid any change in other vacations by taking extra class on three Saturdays.