Missionary school to Hindu Kids-‘Don’t celebrate Diwali’

published on October 10, 2006

‘Don’t celebrate Diwali’

October 10, 2006

Students at St Joseph’s High School in Kandivli have been asked not to celebrate Diwali this year. Instead, the government-aided school has instructed each of its 1,400 students to pay Rs 5,000 as donation to the school fund!

This money, they say, will be used to reconstruct the existing school building. Std X students have even been warned that if they do not pay up, they will not be allowed to appear in the board examinations.


Several parents protested this decision yesterday. One of them said, “The management is so blunt about the whole affair. When we told them we couldn’t afford it, we were asked to spend less on sweets and clothes this Diwali! They insisted that we have to cough up Rs 5,000 as donation.”


Said another parent whose daughter is in Std X, “We didn’t realise the gravity of the problem, as the circular carried only an appeal.

It was later that the school resorted to arm-twisting techniques and is now threatening to disallow our children from appearing in the board exams.”

Parents disclosed that earlier too the school management had come up with weird ways of collecting money. “They made us buy onions and potatoes from the market and sold them to families of other children at higher prices!” a parent said.

Added another parent, whose child studies in Std VI, “If that was not enough, they made the students sell old newspapers and asked them to deposit the money in the school fund.”

A parent added that the management also plans to give donation collection books to the students to collect ‘funds’ from their neighbourhoods.

“The school claims that it would offer lucky coupons to the donors and the winner will be given a prize. Isn’t it funny that even the prize will have to be bought by us?” he said. Another added once he caught his son stealing Re 1 coin from his pocket.

“My son told me ‘It is compulsory for students to deposit at least Re 1 every day in the school collection box.’ So, he resorted to theft!” he said.

Internal matter

The school’s principal Fatima Pereira told MiD DAY that this is an internal problem. “We will sort it out with parents and would not like to speak about it,” she said. Arundhati Chavan, president of the school’s PTA, said, being a government-aided school, the manner in which the school is seeking donations is illegal and that they would hold a meeting with the management soon.

Education Minister Vasant Purke said this ‘donation’ drive is illegal. “If the parents come to us, we will look into the matter,” he said.

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