On the eve of the Mars orbiter’s entry to the Red Planet’s zone of attraction, the Central Board of Secondary Education and the Human Resource Development ministry wrote to the institutions at the last moment to make necessary arrangements to view the broadcast, including a speech by the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, for two hours.
The CBSE on September 22 advised schools to make arrangements for students to view the programme in their classes to “cherish this rare scientific event”. The HRD ministry, too, wrote to the states so that students can watch the telecast live.
In a last minute notice to the University Grants Commission, the ministry directed the higher education regulator to ask all universities and colleges to make the necessary arrangements in the higher education institutions.
Sources said the ministry took this unusual step at the space department’s behest after Isro chairman wrote to the school education department on September 19.
The ongoing first semester examination, however, came as a dampener. “We recorded the programme in the morning and later made our students watch after their examination was over. But the CBSE circular came late,” Springdales school principal Jyoti Bose told Deccan Herald. Most of the schools in Delhi did the same.
In Bangalore, a number of schools affiliated to the CBSE organised the screening of the historic Mars Mission for their students. Most of the Kendrya Vidyalayas (KV) across the state organised the viewing of the Mars orbit insertion, by installing big screens in the school premises. At KV, DRDO, students had gathered as early as 6:30am to witness the event.
Mrinalini Gopakumar, a class 11 student at the school, was overjoyed at having the opportunity to be a part of such an event. “It was really nice to witness an occasion where India became the first country to be able to successfully complete the Mars mission in the first attempt itself. Seeing it was also very informative and even Modi’s speech also went well with everything,” said Mrinalini.
Although the day was a government holiday, schools did not stop short of making arrangements to make it memorable for the children.