SCHOOL, HOME, BACK
Anandi for starters
At all schools run by or affiliated to the Gujarat government, barring those in districts going to bypolls, students will have to watch Chief Minister Anandiben Patel from 11 m to 1 pm, after which the morning batch will go home and then be brought back so that everyone can listen to Narendra Modi in the afternoon. An education department circular refers to an HRD ministry circular and says all students must assemble at their schools by 2.30 pm. “Where TV sets are not available, panchayats have been asked to make arrangements,” principal secretary (education) Arvind Aggarwal said. The options listed are SATCOM, TV, Edsat, Webcast, YouTube, radio and National Knowledge Network.
TV, radio everywhere
At schools that give over early, students can go home but must then reassemble for the event, state education secretary R C Jain said. All primary, middle, high and higher secondary schools have been told to arrange for TV sets or radios.
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All deputy commissioners have been told to ensure the programme is made accessible either with TV or radio. “We have told them to ask the students to assemble at 2.30 pm, after the midday meal,” said HRD Principal Secretary Aradhna Patnaik. “If there is no TV, they can use the radio. Schools can also ask panchayat offices to lend them one. If the school is close to a panchayat office, students can assemble there.” Students will not be asked to travel, she said.
Students at 40,000 schools will watch the event. The TRS government has directed all district education officers to ensure government and private schools have functional TVs with cable. “Since it will be live on Doordarshan, it will not be a problem. Many schools also have computers with an Internet connection. In 100-200 schools that do not have TVs, we have either made arrangements to supply these or asked principals to hire a TV and get a connection using school maintenance grants. At remote schools, radio sets have been provided,” said commissioner of schools M Jagdeeshwar. Power officials have been asked not to impose cuts.
‘how can we?’
“One fine morning you send an order that it has to be carried out in three days’ time. It is not done. Many schools have no TV sets. How can they listen to the address?” Education Minister Partha Chatterjee said. The education department is organising a function of its own in Kolkata. “There will be functions in the districts too, all fixed earlier, and we will have to spend our time on that,” he said.
‘why must we?’
A senior official with the school education department said they haven’t received any central circular. The principal of a CBSE school said, “On Teachers’ Day, let us not lie to children that everything is perfect in the country and everything will be taken care of by the PM. Schools need not telecast a PM’s speech… we have better things to do.” P B Prince Gajendra Babu, general secretary of the State Platform for Common School System and owner of Nava Bharath Matriculation School in Chennai, said no ministry recommendation can be made mandatory. “Let a teacher deliver the speech, or an academic. Even if it is the education minister… there is some logic to it. Why the PM?”
Jammu & kashmir
Home an option
Instructions have been issued to chief education officers to make arrangements in schools that have electricity, director (school education, Jammu) H R Paakhroo said. Schools without electricity will arrange for transistors, something that might prove tough in remote areas. Schools within a radius of 3 km have been asked to assemble at HS or high schools, panchayat ghars and informatics centres. Many officials are, however, worried about power cuts and how they can hold back students, especially those of far-off areas, until 4.45 pm when most schools shut by 2 pm. “We are exploring the idea of allowing these students to listen to the address at home,” said chief education officer (Poonch) Abdul Hamid Fani.
10 lakh target
More than 10 lakh students in 16,000 schools will tune in. Says principal secretary (education) Ali Raza Rizvi, “Almost 80 per cent of the schools already have TV and a few others have radio. Schools can also use web-casting and FM radio.” Asked about students who normally go home early, director (elementary education) Ashok Sharma said, “As of now the arrangement is they will stay back; the government has to clarify whether they should be told to stay.”
The challenge is bringing the event live in Kanalicheena, Dharchula and Monakot blocks, where most parts have no access to TV or Indian radio. “Here, only programmes aired by Nepal radio are audible,” said A K Jukoria, chief education officer (Pithoragarh). He is still holding a meeting of block-level officers Monday to arrange for TV sets. Only some 1,200 of Uttarakhand ‘s 20,000 schools have a TV. “We have asked officials to request villagers to make available their TV sets. If they are reluctant, students may be taken to those houses,” said Radhika Jha, director general (education). Schools also have the option to hire TV sets with Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan or Sarva Shiksha Abihyan funds. The state power utility has resolved to avoid cuts.
Modi at night
THE SUN rises and sets early. In Hayuliang in Anjaw district, sunset is at 4.14 pm, way before Modi calls it a day. Government spokesman and parliamentary secretary (education) Bamang Felix said schools in those districts have electricity, and departmental officers and school authorities will ensure students return home safely. Schools have been told to arrange for TVs, with radio as backup.
CM, lunch, PM, roll-call
THE DAY will end with a roll-call for children and teachers; the IT department will create an SMS-based system to relay attendance details to the education department. Timings have been revised to 11 am-5 pm. And the rough schedule for 1.85 crore students and 5 lakh teachers of 1.56 lakh schools includes CM Shivraj Singh Chouhan’s speech, the midday meal and Modi’s speech. Additional chief secretary (school education) S R Mohanty has said viewing the programme is compulsory for students and teachers. Orders have gone out for uninterrupted power. Schools have to arrange for TV sets; students may also be taken to other schools in the vicinity.
Chief Minister B S Hooda will address students before the PM. The Haryana School Shiksha Pariyojna Parishad has directed district education officers to ensure their Edusat is in order. Privately managed CBSE and ICSE schools too will have to comply with timings of 11.30 am-5 pm. “This has spoiled our plans for the day,” said a private school’s teacher.
Deputy directors of public instruction and education officers have been told to make the arrangements. “Any available medium can be used — radio, computer or television,” commissioner for public instruction Mohammed Mohsin said. Schools have begun informing parents of the extended school hours on Friday. At least one, Harvest International School in Bangalore, is looking at the possibility of showing a recorded version of the PM’s address to students the next working day at the school. DAV Public High School will screen the address only to high-school students.
Keeping them back
Rajasthan ‘can’t be mandatory’
Government schools’ new schedule extends till 4 pm, but private schools mostly end by 1 pm. An official at Step by Step School in Jaipur said, “We will inform parents about the extended timings and work out a roster for buses… It cannot be mandatory. We hope students who live in the vicinity and have no conveyance problem stay back for the PM’s address.” In the interiors, where there is no power, generator sets are being hired with funds from the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the state education programme, said education secretary Shyam S Agarwal.
what to make of break
The target is 14,479 students. But schools close at noon ahead of a week-long Onam break and the biggest challenge will be to keep the children engaged until the address. Director of public instruction Gopala Krishna Bhat said “all schools have one facility or the other”; those without TV sets can use a projector or radios. At Kallarkutty government high school in Idukki, headmistress Liji V K was not sure whether students would stay till the end. “Many come from distant villages,” she said. At St Joseph’s LP School at Moolampally in Kochi, authorities are worried —their office has Internet but can’t accommodate more than 60 people.
Questions & answers
uttar pradesh laptop payback
The directorate of secondary education has asked district inspectors of schools to get in touch with 14.36 lakh beneficiaries of the government’s laptop scheme. “Connect these students with their alma mater and ensure web-casting of the PM’s address,” it has written. Schools with a large compound have been asked to arrange for projectors; they can also hire TVs and inverters or generators, said Onkar Singh, joint director (secondary education). Radio too is an option. “This is a programme of the PM so we have asked to ensure 100 per cent implementation,” said F M Pradhan, special secretary (secondary education). District authorities have been asked to coordinate with schools in ensuring safe return of children asked to stay back.
Haze on who pays
Panchayats in rural areas and municipal councils in urban areas have been asked to arrange for large-screen TV sets, and if needed generators. There is no clarity, however, on who will pay for all this. Principal secretary (school education) Anjali Bhanwari did not share details on the preparations. Director general G K Singh said he was not authorised to talk on this. Sources said government schools have pointed out a shortage of funds, and said parents may end up paying.
Bihar power problem the HRD department has directed all district education officers to ensure students in the state’s 74,000 schools watch the event. The government is however unsure because over 25,000 villages are off the grid. Primary education secretary Rahul Singh said, “HRD principal secretary R K Mahajan has issued the order to make arrangements with the school development fund.” A middle school principal in Munger said, “The fund is paltry and most of it has been exhausted.” The government has told schools in urban areas to plug in through Edusat or on YouTube. School hours will extend till 4.45 pm.
POWERLESS ON FRIDAY
Adarsh Himalaya, a school in Virar on the outskirts of Mumbai, has a TV and radio set. “Our only worry is that every Friday, we have no electricity in our area… We will have to show a recorded speech the next day,” said Arun Bhoir, the headmaster, who will not make the event obligatory for the primary, morning batch. Schools in rural areas have cited “structural, administrative and technological difficulties”. The government has asked schools to arrange for computers, TVs, radio sets, projectors, screens and power backup.
IT SEEMS students of less than 25 per cent of the 50,000 government schools will be able to watch the event on their premises. “We are making arrangements for students of around 38,000 schools to watch the telecast live. Around 11,000 schools have TV; for the rest, we are trying to arrange a local villager’s set at a convenient place,” said Rajat Kumar, director, Rajiv Gandhi Shiksha Mission. “We will ensure radio sets in around 11,000 schools,” he said. Many schools in remote tribal areas are without electricity, and will get it for for 45 minutes.