States pulling out all stops to help school kids listen to PM Narendra Modi on Teacher's days

Written by Press Trust of India | New Delhi | Updated: Aug 31 2014, 20:38pm hrs
Narendra ModiThe programme would be beamed live to over 18 lakh government and private schools in the country via all Doordarshan and education channels. (File Photo
States across the country including those run by non-BJP parties are pulling out all stops to help schoolchildren listen to and interact with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Teacher's Day in a first of its kind exercise to reach out to students.

States including Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, Jharkhand and Andhra Pradesh said they are making "necessary arrangements" for the prime minister's telecast including hiring TV sets in schools where there are none.

However, there was an occasional voice of dissent with West Bengal saying many schools do not have the infrastructure for making such arrangements.

"If they (the Centre) give us such instructions, then there is very little time to make arrangements now. Where is the infrastructure in schools," State Education Minister Partha Chatterjee told PTI.

The initiative has failed to enthuse private schools of Delhi which feel that "forcing" them to make arrangements for it will dampen the celebration of the occasion.

A top official of Tamil Nadu School Education Department said as of now there are no plans to make arrangements in schools but noted it can be arranged quickly "if warranted".

The idea is to motivate budding brains and activities like these would help improve teacher-student relations, he, however, said.

Modi, during his tenure as the chief minister of Gujarat, used to deliver speeches, which were broadcast live across schools of the state on Teacher's Day, and the Gujarat government has made elaborate arrangements, like every year so that his speech can be shown live across schools of the state.

"This was the successful experiment here (in Gujarat) which is going to be implemented at Centre. The entire country should be benefited from the success story of Gujarat and that is the reason why it has been planned," Bhupendrasinh Chudasma, Education Minister of the state told PTI.

"We will facilitate live streaming and interaction in state schools. Since he (Modi) is interacting live we will broadcast it through BISAG (Bhaskaracharya Institute of Space application and Geo-Informatics)," Principal Secretary, Gujarat Education Department Arvind Agrawal said.

Modi will give a pep-talk to about 1,000 selected students at the Manekshaw Auditorium here on September 5 and interact with them, taking some questions through a video conferencing facility. The telecast would start at 3 PM and will continue up to 4.45 PM.

The programme would be beamed live to over 18 lakh government and private schools in the country via all Doordarshan and education channels.

The HRD Ministry has put in motion an unprecedented exercise to make the programme a success and has deputed senior level officials to liaison with the state governments and remove any "logistical hurdles coming in the way".

"There are hundreds of schools in unreached areas without access to electricity. We have asked for hiring generators and to put in place a TV set in schools there," said a Ministry official.

Asked if schools have been asked to change their timings for the students to stay back, HRD Ministry officials maintained that they cannot issue any such directions and has not "mandated" anything.

Maharashtra Pradesh Congress Committee President Manikrao Thakare, however, described as "surprising" the Centre's directive for compulsory attendance for the prime minister's televised interaction.

"It shows the dictatorial mindset and attitude. We have no objections to students listening to speeches of the President, the prime minister and the chief minister. But the way it is being forced is surprising," he said.

Maintaining that immediately after the programme, attendance of students have been sought, he said this is "inappropriate," he said.

School Education Secretary of Congress-ruled Maharashtra Ashwini Bhide said "arrangements are being made" to telecast the speech live.

The number of schools and children who will listen to the interaction is being compiled, the secretary said.

Modi's telecast to students was recently discussed at the state education secretaries conference here, during which they were requested to make arrangements for the smooth conduct of the programme in their respective states, officials said.

Live podcast hosting would be made available by the National Informatics Centre while the prime minister's Twitter handle will be updated every minute, they said.

The local community centre, the state resource centres and the panchayat office would also be included where TV sets are also available.

Principal Secretary (Information) of SP-ruled Uttar Pradesh Navneet Sehgal said they have received letter from the Centre regarding the prime minister's interaction and "all necessary arrangements would be made accordingly".

Similarly, Karnataka's Primary and Secondary Education Secretary Rajkumar Khatri said "all arrangements" have been made in the 70,000 schools to show the prime minister's address.

"We have also instructed officials concerned to hire TV sets in schools where there are none and have taken steps to telecast online using computer.

"We have also arranged for broadcasting the interaction through radios in the districts of Chamarajanagar and Chikamagalur where TV signal is low," Khatri said.

The Punjab and the Haryana government also said they are following the Centre's instruction in "letter and spirit".

"Whatever be the official communication to the state from the Centre with respect to Teacher's Day will be followed," Haryana Education Minister Geeta Bhukkal said.

Punjab's Principal Secretary Education Anjali Bhawra said "our thrust will be that all students watch the PMs speech".

Andhra Pradesh Education Secretary Neelam Sahani they will not have much problem for the TV sets on the day and said 5000 schools will directly broadcast the PM's speech.

Additional Chief Secretary (Education)of Rajasthan Shyam S Agarwal said television sets will be hired for government schools where the student enrolment is 50 or above and radio sets for schools which have below 50 students.

He said directions would be issued to teachers to make sure students attend the school during the telecast time.

In Jharkhand, HRD Secretary Aradhana Patnaik said, "We have made arrangements for TVs at Panchayat Bhavans, Pragyan Centres and schools where the students can watch the programme".

"Some private persons will provide their TVs where there is no TV. And where there is no facility for a TV, radio will be made available," he said.

In Gujarat, Bhuj is the place which has been selected for the live interaction with the Prime minister, while other parts can watch him speaking on Teachers' Day, said Chudasma.

Chudasma said Gujarat Chief Minister Anandi Patel, who was a school teacher, has made some additions in the 'successful experiment' of Gujarat.

"In this successful experiment of Gujarat, Anadiben has made some additions like celebrating the entire week from September 1 to 5 as Knowledge Week. During the week awareness will be created in villages about cleanliness and attempts to establish good and warm relations between teachers and their students will be made," Chudasma said.

Kerala's Director of Public Instructions K Gopalakrishna Bhat said circulars have been issued to all schools in Kerala, asking them to make arrangements for the event.

In the case of Kerala, many schools have broadband connectivity and also the state-run education channel Victers would be telecasting the address live.

In schools where visual media options are not available the address could be sourced from All India Radio, the circular said.