Tepid response to Elders' Day

The Delhi government’s plan to observe October 1 as the International Day for senior citizens in all its schools turned out to be a flop show at some schools as they stayed away from the oath taking ceremony which the education ministry had directed.

With an aim to “inculcate feelings of love and care” amongst students towards the elderly, the Delhi government had issued an order to all schools to observe October 1 as the International Day for senior citizens. It had asked the schools to administer an oath to students to respect the senior citizens.

However, some schools’ students were not even aware of any such day.  “We don’t know if there was any such day today. No oath was taken in our school,” said Harsha of Vidhya Bhawan School in New Rajinder Nagar.

Another schoolgoer said: “There was no assembly in the morning as we had exams. No one told us about World Elders Day”.

The ongoing exam season was one of the main reasons why the schools did not administer oaths to students.

“Since students were having exams, we did not bring the students together in the morning and thus there was no lecture or celebration,” said Sunita Madan, vice-principal of Sulwan Public School.

Another school official said, “Since some classes had holiday due to exams, it was difficult to obey the government’s order”.

The idea behind the government’s direction was to make children realise the importance of elders early in their life so that they do not abandon their parents once they become old.

While some schools could not mark the day because of exams, others who had regular classes also did not hold any such activity.

“We had regular classes. But nothing was mentioned during the day. We are not aware about the circular,” said Tanvi, head girl of a school in West Delhi. Many other students had similar things to say about the government’s order.

Manoj and Sachin of Sindhi School said, “We were given a lecture in the morning assembly to respect our elders, but, no one asked us to take oaths”.

However, there were some schools which adhered to the order despite exams. “We held a special assembly today and tried to instil values amongst students towards the elderly, despite administering an oath,” said an official of Sarvodaya Kanya Vidyalaya School in Patel Nagar.

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