Three elite schools under lens in Bengaluru for skipping National Anthem

Last Updated 18 August 2022, 00:05 IST

The state government on Wednesday issued an order mandating all schools and pre-university colleges to make students sing the National Anthem every morning, following complaints that School Education & Literacy Minister B C Nagesh received against three elite schools in Bengaluru.

The order applies to all schools (government, aided and unaided) and PU colleges. If space is a constraint, then students must be made to sing in classrooms, according to the order.

Earlier, Nagesh had ordered “necessary action” against St Joseph’s Boys’ High School, Bishop Cotton Boys’ High School and Baldwin Girls’ High School -- all in the city’s central business district area -- based on complaints that these schools were not making students sing the National Anthem.

DH has a copy of the minister’s note dated August 11 to the principal secretary of his department naming the three schools.

In the note, Nagesh cited a 2016 order of the Ministry of Home Affairs requiring schools to instill “nationalism” among students by making them sing the National Anthem.

Wednesday’s order has been issued under Section 133(2) of the Karnataka Education Act, which gives the government the power to issue directions.

Nagesh told DH that he directed officials to visit the three schools to verify the complaints. “Officials submitted a report confirming that the schools weren’t making students sing the National Anthem daily,” Nagesh said, adding that notices were issued to the schools.

St Joseph’s principal Fr Sunil Fernandes denied the allegation.

“We have been singing the National Anthem whenever we have a field assembly. As the field assembly isn’t conducted every day, a recorded version of the National Anthem will be played from the principal’s office and children sing from their classrooms,” he said. “The Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) visited the school. He gave as a report asking us to sing the Anthem daily, which we have been doing,” he said.

DH could not elicit a response from Bishop Cotton and Baldwin schools.

The order issued by the government on Wednesday points to complaints that some Bengaluru schools were not following “the practice of singing National Anthem every morning that exists in all schools across the state”. Officials say there are many schools where the National Anthem is not being sung daily. “There are schools that have replaced National Anthem with their own school anthem,” one official said.

(Published 17 August 2022, 18:57 IST)

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