Keonjhar: Sunday is a holiday in schools all over the world but there is one place in the world, where it isn’t. Believe it or not, that place is in our very own Odisha’s Keonjhar district.
There are 28 primary schools in Keonjhar that remain open on Sundays and are closed every Monday. All these schools are operating under Deogan education circle in Ghasipura block. Earlier, 50 schools used to follow the practice but it was discontinued in some after some educationists raised an objection.
Although no one is sure when this unusual system began, locals say it has been continuing since the royal regime. Many elders said the system was followed at the behest of a king.
Kuleswar Mahadev temple is famous in Deogan. A special ritual is performed here every Monday. An old market at Deogan also opens on Monday. Hence, the king ordered that the schools should remain shut on Monday.
Shibaprasad Jena, president of Circle Primary Teachers’ Association, who is also a teacher in Keshdrawpal Primary School said that in 1990, there was an effort to change the norm. Locals moved the HC but this system continues.
In the case of Balipal Primary School, the morning class is conducted on Friday instead of Saturday due to a local market day. A retired teacher of the area said there would be a lot of problems during district-level examinations. Since Monday is a holiday, teachers will not be available to conduct examinations, he said.
Ghasipura block education officer Khetramohan Hansda said this system started after Anandapur education district was announced. “The old system (of Sunday a working day and holidays on Monday) continues in some schools,” Hansda said.
According to the District Education Officer, Kapilendra Mishra, these schools function on Sunday and are closed on Monday following a special circular.