Hitting out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for his plans to address school students on the occasion of Teacher’s Day on Friday, Bihar Chief Minister Jitan Ram Manjhi said “education should not be politicised” and it would be wrong if anybody tried to do so.
“Education should not be politicised. It would be a wrong thing if anybody tries to do so. Our sole aim should be to provide good education to the children. There is no politicisation of education in Bihar,” Manjhi said when asked about Prime Minister’s scheduled address to students across the country.
Manjhi said earlier students in Bihar were not supposed to be addressed by Modi, but it was changed later on. He added that students in the state government schools will be unable to listen to the PM due to lack of infrastructure.
“Some private schools have the infrastructure and they have made arrangements to relay Modi’s address to students, but those studying in state government schools will be left out due to lack of infrastructure. If this becomes a regular trend of Modi then the state government will also make some arrangements,” added Manjhi.
Speaking at the Teacher’s day function, the Chief Minister announced that government will open one primary school for every 40 families in the state, and work is already on to have one plus two (Higher Secondary) school in each panchayat.
Manjhi recollected how in 1956, when he got admitted to Class VIII, he had to walk eight kilometres to reach the high school daily. “The vision behind having a plus two school in every panchayat is that the students, especially girls do not face trouble in reaching schools and receiving education,” added Manjhi.
The Bihar CM had some advice for teachers as well. He asked them to discharge their duty with responsibility because “if utensils turn out to be bad then their makers are said to be at fault”. He added that parents and teachers should ensure proper and all-round development of boys and girls.
“I am not saying with any ill feeling, but it is a fact that when people point fingers at Bihar, then they also call our teachers bad.
“Our teachers should be self-contented, should create an environment of respect towards them. Education should not be just bookish and westernised,” said Manjhi.
Hinting at continuous demands by contractual teachers for more salary, Manjhi said, “You should first see the condition of government treasury, put yourselves in our shoes with all the responsibilities towards the state, and then you will see all your notions vanishing.”
Manjhi said private schools are mushrooming in the state and if they are destroyed then the education standard in the state will go down. He also pointed out that 90 per cent of government school teachers send their children to private schools for education.
When asked by media persons about Centre blaming Bihar for not spending funds given for Indira Awas Yojana (IAY), Manjhi said it was not correct as the programme was implemented in a phase-wise manner and the funds were released accordingly.
“When the funds are in pipeline, how can we spend them. It is a fact that Bihar has spent 90 per cent of IAY funds received till January – February this year,” Manjhi said.