The School Education Department has directed all private schools in the district to remain closed for the three government holidays for Pongal festival. A circular to this effect was issued to all schools here on Tuesday. This follows a complaint submitted by Hindu Munnani to the District Administration during the public grievances meeting on Monday claiming that several private schools had not declared holidays for these festival days.Chief Educational Officer A. Gnanagowri told The Hindu here on Tuesday that all schools, Government, aided and private, must remain closed on the January 15 (Pongal), January 16 (Mattu Pongal) and January 17 (Thiruvalluvar Day).
Private schools are required to conform to the academic calendar drawn up by the School Education Department. As per the calendar, all schools must function for 210 days during an academic year with all the holidays also outlined by the department, she said.
However, the districts are given leeway to declare three days as local holidays for festivals in their localities. Further, schools that close for rain and other natural disasters are permitted to conduct classes during weekends, which are not permitted by the academic calendar.
While all the schools declare holidays on these days, she said that some of them ask only the Class X and Plus Two students to come for special classes in view of the fast-approaching public examinations. The public examinations (theory) begin on March 5 for Plus Two and March 19 for Class X.
Some schools hold special classes for a few standards to compensate for programmes such as annual days and sports days.
These classes are categorised as voluntary for the students, hence making it difficult to prohibit them.
The Chief Educational Officer said that explanations would be sought from the schools that violate the academic year to conduct classes during the Pongal holidays.