Christians upset over losing Christmas holidays

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

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Mumbai:

Christians in Mumbai are objecting to the Maharashtra government’s decision to cut holidays from the 10-day Christmas vacation and adjust these against the ongoing 10-day Ganeshotsav.

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.

Source: IANS

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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.

vinamrata.b@dnaindia.net

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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.
“We had scheduled our tests from Tuesday. There was no clarity on the issue till Monday evening as the education department was shut on account of Ganesh Chaturthi and principals ended up calling each other for confirmation,” said Rekha Shahani, principal, Kamla High School, Khar. “Since the government has declared holiday till Thursday, no one may show upon Friday too. This is a massive loss of crucial school days.”
Most schools ended up sending SMSes or emails alerting parents about the holidays. “Not only did our older students have exams, we were to hold cultural functions for younger classes for which we had booked a hall and a music system,” said Carl Laurie, principal, Christ Church School, Byculla.
In Thane, schools that chose to stay open were forced to shut down by MNVS activists. Some others have decided to workon Wednesday and Thursday. “Since ours is a Gujarati minority school, we have to give students holidays for Navratri too,” said Sangeeta Srivastava, principal, S V P School and T P B College, Kandivli. Rajhans Vidyalaya in Andheri, too, will stay open. “Our students are preparing for exams. We can’t afford to remain shut. If any student wants days off for the festival, we have always allowed them,” said Deepshikha Srivastava, principal.
Educationists are unhappy with the way the education department handled the situation. “The fact that the department gave in to political pressure and agreed to declare holidays at such a short notice will now lead to more pressure tactics from various outfits,” said a principal. Jayant Jain, president of Forum for Fairness in Education said decisions where various communities are involved should be taken after discussions and not on a whim. “Tomorrow someone can take this matter to court. Students will be the ultimate sufferers,” said Jain and added that there have been talks that this government move is aimed at winning more votes in the elections next year.
SCHEDULE IN DISARRAY 
LAST-MINUTE ORDER The BMC education department announced on Friday that all schools will remain shut fromSeptember 9 to 12 for Ganeshotsav and that schools can make up for the lost days by cutting short Christmas or Diwali vacations. This announcement was followed by a
Mumbai education department circular on Saturday
REASON FOR ANNOUNCEMENT
Members of Maharashtra Navnirman Vidyarthi Sena argued that if schools can allow week-long holidays for Christmas in Mumbai, then why not for Ganeshotsav? They asked for a 5-day holiday
IMPACT ON VACATIONS
While schools as well as parents are angry over possible reduction in Diwali vacation and rescheduling of their travel plans, Catholic groups have raised concerns over the Christmas vacation. Especially since the BMC education department has asked schools to start the holidays from December 24 instead of 23, and is contemplating making December 31 a working day

 
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.
In an open letter to various education departments, the minority commission as well as the chief minister, a group of Catholic organizations has raised objection to cutting short of Christmas holidays. Several parents are also against any change in the Diwali vacation as they have already made travel plans and booked tickets and hotel rooms.
In a statement, BMC education officer R Bhise mentioned that no new holidays have been declared but December 23 and31 may be adjusted from the Christmas vacation.
“While we appreciate the sentiment behind the decision to declare Ganeshotsav holidays…we would like to express our hurt at the education department’s decision to adjust the same against the Christmas vacation,” says the letter sent jointly by the Association of Concerned Catholics, Catholics for Preservation of Faith and the Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum.
The letter further mentions that most Catholic schools share their campus with a church and since midnight mass preparations start at least a day in advance, it will be difficult to hold class on December 23. The BMC education department has assured to meet them soon.

About The Voice Of Bombay's Catholic Laity

Bombay Laity Ezekiel’s Chapter 3 Task as Watchman 17 “Son of man, I have made you a watchman for the people of Israel; so hear the word I speak and give them warning from me. 18 When I say to a wicked person, ‘You will surely die,’ and you do not warn them or speak out to dissuade them from their evil ways in order to save their life, that wicked person will die for[b] their sin, and I will hold you accountable for their blood. 19 But if you do warn the wicked person and they do not turn from their wickedness or from their evil ways, they will die for their sin; but you will have saved yourself.
This entry was posted in Association of Concerned Catholics, Catholics For Preservation of Faith, Church News in Mumbai/Thane/Navi Mumbai. Bookmark the permalink.

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