To boost community participation in government schools, HRD ministry today launched Vidyanjali scheme inviting volunteers to hold public speaking, story telling, play acting sessions and participate in other co-scholastic activities.
Speaking at an event here, Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani said 21 states and 2,200 schools will be participating in the pilot launch of the programme and hoped that by December it will be expanded to include every school in the country.
Officials said in the run-up to the launch of Vidyanjali, eminent personalities, including Union ministers Rajyavardhan Rathore, Babul Supriyo and Kiren Rijiju, author Ruskin Bond, cricketer Anil Kumble, footballer Baichung Bhutia and actress Twinkle Khanna, have already visited schools to interact with children.
Besides them, chief ministers of several states have also done the same, they said.
Speaking of the initiative, Irani said Vidyanjali is to convey to the children studying in government schools that “they are not alone but are a part of ‘Team India’.”
Under the programme, volunteers, including Indian diaspora, retired persons, like teachers, government officials, defence personnel, professionals, and women who are home makers, will offer their services for co-scholastic activities for children from class I to VIII.
The activities would include reading to children, helping them with creative writing, public speaking, play acting and preparing story books with children.
Irani also took a favourable view of a suggestion made by Punjab Education Minister Daljit Singh Cheema that retired teachers be allowed to teach under the scheme. She suggested they could provide remedial students to children who need it.
J-K Education Minister Naeem Akhtar, who was present at the event, emphasised on community participation in schooling.
Under the scheme, schools will be able to through an app contact people who are willing to volunteer for their services to children.
During the event, Irani also interacted with some Indians in Indonesia through video conferencing and accepted a suggestion made by one of them that performing arts be made a part of the scheme.
Vidyanjali will also cover initiatives under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR).