The Gujarat government on Thursday cancelled the eight-day Navratri vacation for state-run schools and colleges in the state, a year after introducing it. State Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said the Cabinet took the decision to scrap the holidays after considering representations from various stakeholders, including teachers’ associations and guardians who had demanded cancellation of the vacation.
“Like last year, the state Education Department had decided to give Navratri vacation this time too. However, after deliberations, and in the wake of representations received from various quarters, the Cabinet, under the leadership of Chief Minister Vijay Rupani, decided not to give Navratri vacations,” Chudasama said.
The minister also said that the state government has decided not to extend the summer vacations in the state-run schools.
The Education Department had announced last month to give eight-day Navratri vacation between September 30 and October 7 this year.
In July last year, the state government had reintroduced Navratri vacation, citing low attendance in schools during the festival period.
To accommodate the additional holidays, the state government had reduced Diwali holidays to two weeks from three weeks.
Many private schools, however, had expressed apprehensions that the move would adversely affect the studies of students, especially those appearing for Class X and XII board exams.
However, the vacation was not applicable to the schools affiliated to the CBSE, the ICSE or other boards.
The move faced opposition from a number of schools affiliated to the Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB) in Rajkot and Surat.
When the BJP came to power for the first time in Gujarat in 1995, it experimented with the concept of closing schools during Navratri. However, the experiment lasted for only two years.
When contacted, Chudasama said the decision to scrap the holidays have been taken as teachers’ associations and guardians have been demanding the same for quite some time now.
Dipak Rajyaguru, president of the Federation of Self- Financed Schools in Gujarat, welcomed the decision, saying that such a vacation was not needed in the first place.
“Ever since the Navratri vacation was declared last year, we have been asking the state government to withdraw its decision, as we felt that it will affect the studies. Though the vacation finally came into effect, as many as 400 private schools in Surat district alone had stuck to their academic schedule and did not take vacation,” PTI quoted him as saying.
“That was the main reason why Surat district’s result in Class X and XII board exam was higher than other districts this time. We had conveyed this to the state government recently and we are happy that our demand has been accepted,” Rajyaguru added.
Moreover, the vacation is unnecessary as majority of the schools run in the afternoon, while very few run in the morning, he said.
— With PTI Inputs