Updated: December 22, 2021 4:08:55 am
The education department of the Lakshadweep administration has decided to mark Sundays instead of Fridays as weekly holidays for school students as part of a new calendar for the 2021-22 academic year amid resistance.
In Lakshadweep, where Muslims form 96 per cent of the population as per the 2011 census, Fridays have been observed as a weekly holiday in schools on religious grounds. The new order is a departure from that system.
The order of the education department dated December 17 said it was modifying school timings and regular activities to ‘ensure optimum utilisation of resources’ and to ensure ‘proper engagement of learners and necessary planning of teaching learning process.’ The department published detailed subject-wise allotment of class periods for both English-medium and Malayalam-medium schools.
There is already resistance to the new directive of the UT administration. A panchayat samiti member, who did not want to be identified, said local dweep panchayats and school PTAs were not consulted before passing the order. Even if classes were to be held on Fridays, the timings could have been adjusted to allow for Friday prayers for students and teachers, this person said.
Lakshadweep Nationalist Congress Party MP Mohammed Faizal PP termed the decision ‘unilateral’ and ‘unpopular.’
“This is a totally one-sided decision. Only if he (administrator) has discussions with elected representatives, can he understand the local issues. Here, he decides and the education department director has no choice but to release an order. Already, there is a prevailing madrassa system on the Islands on Friday mornings. The new timings will (clash with it),” he said.
“Since the inception of the education system in Lakshadweep, this (Friday being a weekly holiday) has been going on. Suddenly, the current administrator, the 36th on the Island, decided that Friday will be a working day. There was no demand from the people (to change existing system). The new decision is totally needless,” Faizal said.
He said the public can’t even hold protests against such unilateral decisions as the administration resorts to taking disciplinary action which end up affecting the students’ academics. Faizal added that he would shoot letters to the Home Minister and the Prime Minister to apprise them of his opposition to the decision.
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