Kalam’s birthday on October 15 will be no-schoolbag day in Mumbai
MUMBAI: Students in the city and surrounding areas can leave their school bags at home next Thursday, when schools across the state will observe Vaachan Prerna Diwas or Reading Day as per a government order.
The decision to celebrate October 15, the birth anniversary of former President of India A P J Abdul Kalam, as Vaachan Prerna Diwas in schools across the state was made by school education minister Vinod Tawde soon after Kalam’s death on July 27. In a government resolution issued on Wednesday, the state asked all students from Class III to VIII to read non-academic books in school, and instructed schools to host book exhibitions, implement gift-a-book programmes, introduce students to well-known authors from around the world, and hold discussions on books. The government has said that almost Rs 6 lakh is available for the programme.
APJ Abdul Kalam cared for children’s education across the world
Going a step further, the office of the deputy director has asked schools in the Mumbai region to also allow students to leave their bags home on the day. “Kalam’s writings are an inspiration to students and youth. These activities will help students develop an interest for reading, which is sorely lacking. So we created the ‘school without bags’ plan for that day,” said B B Chavan, deputy director, Mumbai region. Suggested activities for schools in Mumbai include inviting authors, literature and other subject experts, reading a book that is not a school textbook and teaching students how to read out loud. “There should be no kind of pressures in class this day and a positive environment should be created. This way, students can read what they like and have fun doing it. Only then will the programme be a success,” said the circular issued by Chavan.
Schools have also been advised to dedicate time on a specific day every month for reading, host book fairs, organize meets for teachers and keep the school library updated. They should also award students and teachers who read the maximum number of books.
However, with exams just round the corner, schools are not sure if they can have activities throughout the day. “Our oral and practical exams begin next week, so we might not be able to dedicate the entire day for these activities. We will, may be, conduct them for some time during the day. The idea of celebra ting such days is school is great,” said Freny Mehta, principal, Alexandra Girls’ Institution, Fort.
Chavan said the plan is not rigid and schools can make adjustments as required.
Last year, all schools in the city’s south zone marked November 21as No-Textbook Day. A brainchild of Chavan, schools had hosted various activities such as book reading sessions, interactions with authors, newspaper reading and making and book review discussions during school hours. There was participation of more than 430 schools.