Order on PM's Sept 5 speech evokes mixed response

Order on PM's Sept 5 speech evokes mixed response

The Centre’s directive to broadcast Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Teachers Day address to schoolchildren from 3 pm to 4.45 pm via TV and the Int­e­r­­net on September 5 has ev­o­ked mixed responses from the State government and teachers in Karnataka.


While the government would not want to create a controversy by refusing to oblige, it is not feasible to implement the Centre’s directive for several reasons, Minister of State for Primary and Secondary Education, Kimmane Ratnakar, told Deccan Herald.

He said he found the scheduling on Teachers Day ‘inappropriate’. “As the circular is issued by the Prime Minister’s Office, we have to oblige. Education comes under the ‘concurrent list’ of the Indian Constitution and both the State government and the Centre have a say. However, this programme cannot be made mandatory, as it will cause inconvenience to both teachers and students.”


The State has lined up several programmes specifically for teachers at taluk, district and State levels. As they would be attending these functions in the morning, it would be impossible for them to implement the directive. Besides, he added, for the children, Teachers Day is a kind of undeclared holiday as teachers will be busy attending events organised by the Education department.


“If the prime minister wanted to interact with children, the programme could have been scheduled for Children’s Day (November 14). It would have been appropriate for him to interact with teachers on September 5,” he suggested.


Moreover, for teachers, this day is significant because they get a platform to interact with officials and ministers and discuss problems. “If they have to stay back in school to listen to Modi’s speech, they will miss the opportunity to air their grievances,” the minister said.


Several schools don’t have infrastructure such as TV sets or Internet connection to ‘attend’ the broadcast. Hence, it can’t be mandatory, he said.


However, DDPIs, deputy commissioners and other officials will be directed to make preparations for the event through video conferencing on Tuesday, said Yashoda Bopanna, Director, Karnataka Secondary Education Examination Board (Exams).


When asked about the lack of infrastructure at schools, Mohammed Mohsin, Commissioner for Public Instruction, said schools which don’t have TV or Internet have been told to arrange for radio sets.
Even as private schools seem enthusiastic, many government schools are yet to make arrangements.

“Students from Classes 10 to 12 will assemble for the interaction. It’s an opportunity for them to interact with Modi and get a hands-on experience,” said Manju Sharma, Principal, Delhi Public School - South.


Lavanya Mitran, Principal, DBM and RJS School, said they will use smartboards, computers and TVs in classrooms so that all students attend. “With this opportunity, children do get inspired,” she said.

However, Renuka Sharma, a teacher in a government school, said they were yet to decide. “Most teachers will be attending the event organised by the State government. Besides, the school doesn’t have TV or Internet” she said.

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