CBSE schools have not been instructed to stay open on Christmas, the government claimed in the Rajya Sabha on Monday.  A Times of India report stating that the Human Resource Development ministry intended to celebrate the birthdays of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee and Hindu Mahasabha leader Madan Mohan Malviya on December 25 by observing "Good Governance Day" was inaccurate, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley told the Upper House.

HRD Minister Smriti Irani took to Twitter to lash out against the Times report, noting that an essay competition to mark Good Governance Day would be held online and that participation would be voluntary. Schools would also remain closed on Christmas day, she said.

She seemed to be doing a flip-flop. According to the letter issued by her ministry's Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti earlier this month [PDF],  schools were asked to mark Good Governance Day by holding quiz competitions, declamation contests and by screening documentaries on "the best practices of good governance". Schools were also asked to send photographs and videos to the ministry, presumably to prove that the events had been conducted.

It isn't clear how declamation contests could be held online, or documentary film screenings, as Irani claimed ‒ or how photographs of online events could be taken.

The HRD ministry later issued a more lengthy clarification saying that since the Navodaya schools are residential, students who remain there will have the opportunity to participate in the essay competition if they wish to. Students of other CBSE schools could participate online, the note said.

The rest of Twitter had a field day.










 Updated on December 16, 4.40pm, to add HRD ministry note.