Bihar: Teachers’ training during Durga Puja cancelled with immediate effect
The timing of the training, as it coincides with the 10-day Durga Puja that started on October 15, drew severe political backlash in the state
The ongoing teachers’ training in Bihar, which had evoked sharp reactions from teachers as well as opposition Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and other parties due to its timing during the Navratri festival, was cancelled on Tuesday with immediate effect due to “unavoidable reasons”.
“All kinds of training scheduled from October 16-21 is cancelled from October 17. The training will be treated as incomplete. Later, fresh order will be issued for the completion of training,” said the letter from the director of state council for Educational Research and Training (SCERT) to the principal of all training institutions in the state.
The SCERT director had last week issued a letter to the teachers to report by October 15 evening to their respective district centres for residential training. Thousands of teachers had to undergo a five-day training across several districts.
The timing of the training, as it coincides with the 10-day Durga Puja that started on October 15, drew severe political backlash. From day one, many teachers on fast during the Navratri expressed their displeasure and discomfort over the timing of the training and joined it reluctantly.
This is the second instance when the education department has had to withdraw its orders related to schools. A couple of months ago, Bihar witnessed uproar over the education department’s decision to cut down school holidays and open the school on Raksha Bandhan. Later, the government had to backtrack and withdraw the August 29 holiday order after chief minister Nitish Kumar intervened.
The BJP termed the training during Navratri as an affront on the Hindu religion and demanded withdrawal of the order, while the Janata Dal (United)-led government hit back with a comparison of Durga Puja holidays with neighbouring Uttar Pradesh, which has just two days of holidays for puja as compared to three in Bihar.
“This is becoming a pattern with the Bihar government, to deliberately hurt Hindu sentiments. This is nothing but appeasement politics of chief minister Nitish Kumar. What is happening in Bihar was unheard of earlier and it is clearly deliberate. The government did not learn its lesson from last time when it had to take back its order after no students turned up on Raksha Bandhan despite teachers being forced to report. There was so much protest, but the government is again doing the same,” he added.
Leader of opposition Vikay Kumar Sinha, who organised a feast of fruits for the fasting devotees at his residence on Monday, said the government should not get blind to Hindu sentiments by creating obstacles during festivals. “Navratri is a sacred festival, and a lot of regulation is required for the fasting devotees. Strange things are happening in Bihar,” he added.
The teachers’ association had also given an ultimatum to the government to withdraw the training and reschedule it. “We have no problem in undergoing a training, but it is difficult during Navratri. The teachers on the first day of the training decided to stay on fast in protest. I request the department to look into it, else the teachers would be forced to agitate,” TET primary teachers’ association leader Raju Singh said.