In his second Teachers’ Day interaction with school children on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi lamented the fact that not many good people were joining active politics, exhorted people from various fields to devote at least an hour per week to teach students in schools and talked of introducing an aptitude certificate to replace the character certificate in a bid to help students chart out a roadmap for their future.
“Desh mein ek jo rajneetik jeevan ki itni badnami ho chuki hai ki logon ko darr lagta hai ki yahan toh ja nahin sakte, jaana hi nahin chahiye, achhe log ka vahan par kaam nahin hai. Iske kaaran desh ka bahut nuksaan hota hai (Politics has acquired such a bad name in the country that people feel that they cannot and shouldn’t enter politics and that it is not meant for good people. The country suffers a loss because of this),” the PM said, underlining that it is very important for the country that good, learned and people from various fields join politics. He was interacting with school children on the eve of Teachers’ Day.
Flanked by Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, Minister of State for Finance Jayant Sinha and the two MoSs in HRD–Ram Shankar Katheria and Upendra Kushwaha—the Prime Minister first took questions from school students from nine states through videoconferencing and then from some more present in the auditorium. As per the HRD ministry, 800 students and 60 teachers from schools in Delhi were present.
Calling the issuing of a Character Certificate by schools a “ritual”–since even those in jail and those who had been hanged had it–the PM said that he had asked the Human Resource Development ministry to issue an Aptitude Certificate instead of the Character Certificate to students which will help set the course of student’s future life.
“I have told the department that instead of Character Certificate, an Aptitude Certificate should be given. A software should be made and a student’s friends should be asked every three months about what they think about their friend—what are his specialities, what does he do, is he disciplined and punctual…the parents should also be asked to fill up details…teachers should gather all information about him,” Modi said, adding that the department (HRD ministry) was actively working on this.
When asked as to why today’s youth were not taking up teaching as a profession, the PM said, “It is not as if the country doesn’t have good teachers. The bright children who had a spark were identified by their teachers who then moulded their lives.” He also exhorted those who had achieved majorly in their lives to devote an hour per week, or 100 hours in a year, to teach students in schools. Calling out to doctors, lawyers, engineers and judges, the PM, in a lighter vein, added, “Hum log nahin chalenge usme…nahin toh kuch aur padhakar ayenge.”
When a student complimented him on his “unique sense of dressing”, calling him a “brand ambassador of Indian clothes” and asking how did the idea to promote Indian clothes all over the world came to his him, an amused Prime Minister said that it was a “misconception” that he had a fashion designer designing his clothes. “I was amazed to know that some fashion designers claimed themselves to be Modi’s fashion designers. Neither do I know any fashion designer nor have I met one,” he said.
He then narrated how he used to carry a few clothes and books in a small bag during his early years and since he used to wear kurta-pyjama and used to wash his clothes himself, he one day decided to cut the long sleeves of his kurta in order to lessen his washing work and also reduce the space the kurta took in his bag. “This is being connected with a fashion designer. But in fact, it was something related to my convenience and simplicity,” he said.
In response to a student’s question on how he had developed his oratory skills, Modi said, “One needs to be a good listener in order to become a good orator. Not just ears…if you involve your eyes and thoughts, you will slowly get a grasp of things. This will increase your confidence level.”
He also told students not to worry about what people will say. “Many people are scared that when I get up to speak, the the microphone might not work or I might just slip. Don’t worry. At worst, they’ll laugh a couple of times, let them,” he said, adding that one should also prepare notes on subjects of interest and practicing reading and speaking will develop articulation skills.
The PM also said that a problem orators often face is that what they want to say is delayed to a point where people lose interest. This, he said, can be corrected by developing a habit to write the sentences one intends to speak. “This, with practice, will bring in sharpness,” he said.