On September 5, as Prime Minister Narendra Modi spends an hour and 45 minutes with nearly 1,000 schoolchildren in Delhi, virtually every government and private school and adult education centre in the country will watch and listen to him live on TV, radio and the Internet.
The Human Resource Development Ministry has begun an unprecedented exercise to ensure that students are able to see and hear the PM’s Teachers’ Day engagement. The Secretary, Secondary Education, in the Ministry, Rajarshi Bhattacharya, has asked every officer of the rank of Joint Secretary and Director to liaise with officials of 2-3 states each.
Sources in the ministry said around 14.5 lakh government schools and 4 lakh private schools; every Jan Shikshan Sansthan, panchayat ghar, adult and informal education centre, and State Resource Centre; and every other forum where arrangements can be made, would see and hear the PM’s interaction with the schoolchildren.
“Where there are no television sets, we have asked to hire TV sets, and where there is no possibility of electricity, we have asked to arrange generators for that day,” a senior ministry official said.
Modi will meet the students, drawn from all classes from 1 to 12, at the Manekshaw Centre in Delhi Cantonment between 3 pm and 4.45 pm. He will make an opening speech, after which students from five centres, including Dantewada, Tirunelvelli, Bhuj and Silchar, will ask him some questions, officials said.
Sources said 52 news channels, radio and FM channels would broadcast the programme. The EDUSAT system, wherever available, will be utilized. Websites of the HRD Ministry and all state governments’ education departments will stream the programme.
“In fact, every mode of electronic communication is going to be utilised to show the PM’s programme to every school-going child in the country. It will be a test for ICT (Information and Communication Technology) facilities in India,” another senior official said.
Top sources said the PMO has informally directed that it would like to have data on the programme’s viewership.
Secretary Bhattacharya has been having videoconferences almost every day — including more than once on some days — to check on the status of preparations since last week. He has been in touch with the principal secretaries of education departments of states. While states have been asked to make arrangements, there is no provision for funding in any ongoing scheme.