Is or isn’t Modi’s Teachers’ Day address optional?

Even as Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani has said that it is not compulsory for schools nationwide to make students watch Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Teachers’ Day address, some Education Department officials in Karnataka seem to have decided otherwise.

Copies of circulars sent out by deputy directors of public instruction (DDPIs) in some districts of the State, made available to The Hindu, state that listening to the address live is “compulsory” and schools should make arrangements.

In Mysore, a circular by the DDPI to heads of all government, aided and unaided schools states that it is “compulsory” to ensure that students watch Mr. Modi’s televised address. DDPI H.R. Basappa convened a meeting of all heads of institutions on Monday to make sure television sets, computers, laptops or radios were available for students from Class I to X to watch the address from 2.30 p.m. to 4.45 p.m. on September 5.

In Hassan, the department has postponed Teachers’ Day programmes in six taluks, following an instruction from the State government to make arrangements to watch Mr. Modi’s address in schools. All these years, programmes were held in district and taluk centres to present awards to teachers. This year, teachers will be busy in their own schools making arrangements to screen Mr. Modi’s speech.

V.M. Kantharaja, DDPI, Hassan, said the State Project Director of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) had issued directions to make all arrangements. The officers have been instructed to arrange for television sets on the day. “If necessary, we will take students to gram panchayat offices or community halls where TV sets are in place,” Mr. Kantharaja said.

In Bangalore, a teacher from a government school in Basaveshwarnagar said the department had issued circulars listing the arrangements that needed to be made in schools. “Although the circular from the Block Education Officer (BEO) does not specify that it is compulsory, it does not say that it is optional either. Since the talk is within school hours in government schools, we will ask students to participate,” the teacher said. A principal of a private school in the city, however, said the BEO had communicated that there was a need for principals and teachers to take photographs and take feedback from the students on the speech.

Reacting to the confusion, Adoni Syed Saleem, State Project Director, SSA, said the circular was an earlier communication and the DDPIs were later asked to communicate to schools that the programme was not mandatory. The latter communication, however, is yet to percolate down.

(With inputs from Laiqh A. Khan, Sathish G.T. and Tanu Kulkarni)

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Printable version | Sep 25, 2021 7:28:03 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/is-or-isnt-modis-teachers-day-address-optional/article6373855.ece

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