Bihar Minister Seeks Clarification from DEOs over Friday Weekly off in Schools

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PATNA – The Bihar education department has demanded clarifications from the district education officers (DEO) of Seemanchal region following the Friday weekly holiday in government schools.

Education minister Vijay Kumar Chaudhary said: “We have a report about Friday being declared as a weekly off in many government schools in Bihar. We have asked the DEOs of the respective districts to submit a clarification on this matter. We have also asked them to clarify who has given the order for the weekly off in government schools on Friday. We will take action after their reply to the department.”

According to an education department official, Muslim dominated Araria district has 244 government schools and 229 of them have declared Friday as the weekly off in the schools instead of Sunday. Purnea and Kishanganj districts’ 200 schools were closed with weekly off on Friday. The report about Katihar is also similar where a large number of schools were shut on Friday, he added.

Subhash Kumar Gupta, district education officer of Kishanganj, said that it is a common practice in the Muslim dominated areas in the Seemanchal districts.

Districts such as Purnea, Araria, Katihar and Kishanganj have domination of the Muslim community — 30% to 70% in several localities. The schools in these areas have a Friday off as the Muslims offer “Jumme Ki Namaz” on Friday. The officer said that it is not a recent practice in Bihar. In fact, Friday has been a weekly off in many government schools not only in Seemanchal region but across Bihar for a long time.

According to an official of the education department, there is no such policy of Friday as weekly off in the state. The Muslim leaders in the minority dominant areas have forced schools to close on Friday. Sources said that the majority of these leaders belong to the ruling JD-U and the opposition party RJD. They are not objecting to this practice as their vote bank could desert them in the elections. -IANS

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