A few schools remained shut on Tuesday despite the Punjab government not declaring any holiday following the death of former President Dr APJ Abdul Kalam. The government has issued a notice to the schools seeking an explanation.
Teachers claim that they followed TV news reports that said that a holiday had been declared by the Prime Minister at the national level for Tuesday.
Punjab education minister Daljeet Singh Cheema said, “Declaring an off day was against the spirit of the teachings of Dr A P J Abdul Kalam. The state government declared no off for schools (on Tuesday).”
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Another letter from the office of Balbir Singh Dhol, director (education), was issued on Tuesday that quoted the former President as saying, “When I die, do not declare a holiday, but work some extra.”
The letter addressing the teachers of government schools in Punjab said that for the next seven days, all teachers should spend some extra time in class to tell students about the life and achievements of Kalam.
Apart from this letter issued by district education officers (a copy of which is with The Indian Express) said that no holiday was declared by department and if any school was closed it was at responsibility of principal/headmistress and thus, a detailed report on absent staff should be forwarded to it.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Cheema said, “It was against the spirit of Kalam saab to declare a holiday and so, we did not. There was some confusion and as per the report I have with me, it seems a few DCs had declared a holiday in a few schools. We will be organising a lecture on EDUSAT to tell students about Kalam and for next seven days teachers have been asked to devote extra time to tell students about Kalam in morning assemblies and classes.”
“We have asked for report on closed schools and absent teachers on Monday,” confirmed Gurjot Singh, district education officer (primary), Ludhiana.