Starting this Republic Day, students in primary and secondary schools in Maharashtra will have to read the Preamble to the Constitution during the morning assembly in schools every day under the programme ‘Sarvabhaumatva Samvidhanache, Janhit Sarvance (Sovereignty of the Constitution, in the interest of all)’.
The move comes at a time when protests have erupted in various districts in the state over the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) and the National Register of Citizens (NRC), with the Constitution of India at the heart of the debates.
A government resolution (GR), issued by the state school education and sports department Tuesday, states, “In order to ensure that all citizens understand the scope of the principles of the Constitution, inclusion and the principles of justice, freedom, equality and brotherhood and these values are inculcated in the conscience of the society, it is important that students are fully familiar with the Constitution. The basic principles, constitutional rights and duties under the Constitution are to be imbibed in every citizen. Imparting these on the impressionable minds of children will help in shaping responsible, informed and cultured citizens. It is expected that this should begin during the years of school education for which there should be a collective reading of the preamble to the Constitution, the decision regarding which was taken in a government resolution of February 2013.”
It states that although the GR to this effect was issued in 2013, the order had not been implemented. Hence, all primary and secondary schools in the state should hold a collective reading of the Preamble to the Constitution every day from January 26. The GR applies to both government and private schools, both primary and secondary, across the state.
School education minister Varsha Gaikwad said the move was first envisioned in 2009 and it will now be implemented to familiarise school children with the Constitution. The education commissioner has been asked to periodically review the implementation of the GR from divisional officials.
Speaking at ‘Students Against CAA and NRC’ conference, organised by Chhatrabharati – the students’ wing of Lok Bharati Party – earlier this month, Gaikwad had assured students that her government will try its best to ensure that CAA, National Population Register (NPR) and NRC were not implemented in Maharashtra.
Rajendra Pradhan, president of Shiv Shikshan Sanstha, which runs DS High School in Sion, said, “It is a good move since nowadays no one really reads the Constitution. While our children learn the National Anthem, reading of the Preamble could be a part of growing up. Reading it takes less than a minute, and it is part of building consciousness within children.”
Secretary of Mumbai Principals’ Association, Prashant Redij, said a similar GR had been released in 2013, but it did not make the reading of the Preamble compulsory. “Many students don’t know the values enshrined in our Constitution. But we want to raise students who are rooted in the ideals desired in them. Which is why we feel that the subject Value Education, which has been removed from the curriculum since the past few years, should also be reinstated.”
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