Guess who’s keeping government school students and teachers in Ahmedabad on their toes? It’s a litany of personalities from Swami Vivekananda, Pandit Deendayal Upadhyay to Mahatma Gandhi. What’s more, it even includes Goddess Saraswati. Six events in 27 working days, after weeks of preparation by students and teachers, in schools run by Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) School Board, seem to have taken a toll on the 1.5 lakh students across 456 municipal schools in Ahmedabad. The new year in municipal schools started with a list of “to be celebrated events”. Out of six, four events were dedicated to Vivekananda, Upadhyay and Gandhi, not to miss the event celebrated for Goddess Saraswati.
On January 10, hundreds of municipal school students performed “surya namaskar” at the inaugural ceremony of the international kite festival on the Sabarmati Riverfront. Soon after, on January 12, students and teachers were instructed to celebrate Swami Vivekanand birth anniversary, a Monday.
As per the directions issued by the school board, all municipal schools had to take out a rally for at least one hour. “All students participated in the rally across Ahmedabad where they were holding placards and posters of Swami Vivekananda. A few were also dressed as Vivekananda. It took more than a week’s preparation to organise such an event involving all children,” said a municipal school principal.
Another event on the calendar was a cultural programme in all schools on January 20. This included various cultural items performed by students. Alongside this, municipal teachers were busy for the “swachhata sammelan” on January 22. This involved identification of students by teachers who could be formed as “safai brigade” in each school to take charge of cleanliness not only in their schools, but also school and residential vicinity.
“The ‘safai sammelan’ is not a one-time event. It will be repeated in all schools on a regular interval. This would mean keeping students and teachers busy throughout the year. The students have to conduct regular inspections in their areas, spread awareness and take feedback.
Already, with the implementation of Right to Education Act, the burden on teachers has increased manifold and with these back-to-back extra-curricular activities, it is another burden for the fraternity,” lamented one of the teachers on the condition of anonymity.
Then came the controversial Saraswati Aradhana Parv on January 24, where all students were asked to start the day with Saraswati prayer in their morning assembly and also share information on how this day is celebrated in other states.
On Mahatma Gandhi’s death anniversary, January 30, while all schools organised a painting competition across the state, Ahmedabad municipal schools added an elocution on “Education and Gandhi chintan” in all schools.
When asked about the relevance of all these back-to-back events organised in municipal schools, the AMC School board chairman Jagdish Bhavsar said, “The only intention behind these activities is the exposure for students. These events are very important for a child’s growth where he is exposed to historical, cultural and social activities and gets actively involved.”
Sources also said that the celebration spree of the AMC school board is expected to extend in the coming months as it will be marking the birth and death anniversaries of prominent leaders. It is to be seen how teachers cope with these events while completing syllabus for this academic session.