Despite the uproar over the human resource development ministry’s decision to celebrate Christmas Day as “Good Governance Day” last year, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) seems all set to do so this year as well, as per its calender for the academic year 2015-16.
The academic calender — which lists all important events, festivals, programmes scheduled each month for CBSE-affiliated schools — shows December 25 as both “Christmas Day” and “Good Governance Day”. It mentions Christmas as a gazetted holiday. While it remains unclear as to what activities would be planned for students on that day, it is clear that “Good Governance Day” has found its way into the official calender of schools in the country.
The HRD ministry’s decision to observe December 25 as “Good Governance Day” to mark the birth anniversaries of BJP ideologue Madan Mohan Malviya and former Prime Minister A B Vajpayee had generated much controversy last year, as it appeared that schools would not be closed for Christmas.
Though the ministry tried to defuse the controversy by claiming that only a “voluntary” online essay competition would be organised that did not require students to go to school, it did not hold much traction. As per a circular issued to Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti and the CBSE, the ministry had asked for other activities that clearly required the presence of students, including declamation and quiz competitions as well as documentary screenings, to be held on that day across all schools.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani later said all schools would remain closed for Christmas and the essay competition would be “online” and “voluntary”. The directive to celebrate “Good Governance Day” was also issued to higher education institutions.