HRD Ministry Clarifies On TOI’s Misreporting: X’mas Holiday Not Cancelled

Smriti Irani, the Union HRD minister has clarified that Christmas holiday is still on and not a mandatory essay competition day on good governance as misreported by Times of India

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For students making fun plans for their Christmas vacations, the ‘The Times Of India’ has brought some very bad news on its front page today. There is no Christmas holiday and they would have to come to school to write an essay on good governance!

As reported by TOI, the union human resource development ministry wants to celebrate the birthdays of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Hindu Mahasabha leader Madan Mohan Malviya by observing `good governance day’ on December 25. This essentially means an essay competition will be held on December 24 and 25, the topics for which will be declared a day before on December 23.

The essay competition will be held separately for standards I-V, standards VI-VIII and standards IX-X. It has also been reported that the Navodaya Vidyalays commissioner, GS Bothyal has asked schools to conduct quiz competitions, screen documentaries on best practices in good governance and perform other related activities on Christmas.

TOI states that while the Union government-run Navodaya Vidyalays has issued a circular to its schools, the CBSE hasn’t issued any circulars to its schools yet.

“While there won’t be a Christmas holiday for Navodaya schools, the central board hasn’t given any direction to private CBSE schools yet. It is also not clear whether staying open on Christmas would be mandatory for such schools.”

While the frontpage news at TOI is disturbing at many levels in a seemingly secular country like India, it now looks like a deliberate attempt by TOI to “create” sensational news, either by leaving out important parts or misreporting.

The Union government has been quick to verify this, even before the matter could snowball on Twitter to become a trending hashtag. Smriti Irani, Union Minister for Human Resource Development has clarified that schools will remain closed for X’mas and that the essay competition, which is an online one, is only voluntary.

Read update: “TOI Vs. Smriti Irani Christmas Holiday Fight: Ministry Of HRD Clears Facts In A 10-Point Press Note”.

Twitterati have been outraging in funny tweets as usual, while the opposition has called the clarification a lie. The essay competition as per the circular issued  is also being held offline in addition to online. Nevertheless, the shape of Christmas vacation will be forever changed with the introduction of ‘Good Governance Day’ on December 25.

Here are a few tweets on what the funny folks feel on the news: