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Letters to the editor
Leave the kids alone
WE ARE disturbed by the circulars issued by the CBSE and other authorities like the Directorate of Education, Delhi, and Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan asking schools to make arrangements to ensure that children across the country listen to the prime minister’s address in the school premises on Teachers’ Day. This is an extraordinary and unprecedented step in the history of school education in independent India. Not only does this order treat children as passive and captive elements who do not have a view of their own, it also violates the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which says that children have a right to form opinions and, therefore, they need to be asked whether they would like to be part of such an extra-school activity beyond usual school hours. Although the HRD ministry has verbally clarified that this is a voluntary activity and is not binding on schools and children, the written orders asking schools to furnish status reports by September 2 and to remain prepared for surprise inspections are still in force. Moreover, schools are being asked to spend from their own resource pool, which is in itself poor and inadequate. The resources identified for school-related activities are sought to be diverted for an extraneous activity, not intrinsic to the curriculum. The PM is taking over a day that belongs to the teaching community and pushing teachers off stage. This attempt to hegemonise social spaces needs to be condemned and resisted. The PM is not the teacher-in-chief of the country and he should leave the children alone. The issued orders must be withdrawn immediately and the solemnity of the day left untouched.
— Apoorvanand, Mukul Priyadarshini, Prachi Kalra, Laxmi Murthy and 60 others
Money in his blood
APROPOS ‘PM keeps music playing: No red tape, only red carpet for Japan’ (IE, September 3), the bureaucratic hurdles in the way of domestic and foreign investors are no secret. As CM of Gujarat, Narendra Modi was praised by industrialists for swift project clearances. That PM Modi now intends to do this at the Centre is reassuring.
— M.C. Joshi
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Pick up the pieces
THIS refers to the editorial, ‘Spare us the tears’ (IE, September 3). I hope that the Congress party reads the editorial and pays heed to it. But I find it difficult to believe that it will. I have my doubts about its interest and ability to do so. Having been in power for many long years, the party seems to have lost the wherewithal to respond to electoral reverses.
— Naren N. Joshi