As per the latest orders from the office of secretary, Punjab education department, now the private schools in the state will be administering a “Swachhta sankalp (oath of cleanliness) to its students and teachers on September 25. A copy of the oath has also been sent to the schools, which invokes Mahatma Gandhi and says, “I will move from street to street and village to village to publicise Swachh Bharat Mission.”
The orders come days after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had ordered schools to observe Swachhta Pakhwada (fortnight) from September 1-15. The government schools of Punjab too observed Swachhta fortnight from September 1-15 and an oath taking ceremony was observed on September 1 as per the action plan sent by the education department.
The latest orders for private schools state that all the principals, heads, teachers, staff and students in will clean the school premises and surroundings on September 25 after taking the oath. A copy of the oath and the orders (with The Indian Express) says, “Mahatma Gandhi had a dream to see clean India. I pledge I would dedicate at least 100 hours a year, that is 2 hours a week, for cleanliness. I will also stop others from littering. Countries which have progressed have citizens who neither litter nor let others do so. I will move from street to street and village to village to publicise Swachh Bharat Mission.”
As per the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) message on its website, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has called for “Swachhta Hi Seva” campaign from September 15 to October 2 during his ‘Mann Ki Baat’ radio talk on August 27 to mark the third anniversary of Swachh Bharat Mission on October 2. Thus, school students and teachers will be taking “Swachhta sankalp” and contributing to “shramdaan (physical labour)” to maintain cleanliness.
Meanwhile, schools say the orders have come in the middle of the ongoing exams. Some principals also complained that the Punjab education department often failed to communicate with them. “We are yet to receive any such orders. Sometimes, we get these orders through mail, sometimes we do not get them at all. There is no proper communication channel between district education office and private schools,” said Navita Puri, principal, Kundan Vidya Mandir.
“Currently, exams are going on, but we will try to administer oath to students before exam starts on September 25. Officially, orders from state education department hardly reach in time,” said Mona Singh, principal, Guru Nanak Public School. “We had some cleanliness activities at our own level recently. We do not receive education department orders in time. We get to know about them through media only,” said Paramjit Kaur, principal BCM Arya Model Senior Secondary School.