Even as most schools in the city have already chalked out their plans for teachers’ day celebrations on September 5, they are still awaiting official communication from the education department and respective boards on making arrangements in their respective schools to live screen Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s address to students.
According to the Ministry of Human Resource Development (HRD), the PM’s address will be broadcast to nearly 20 crore students across India. However, schools in Mumbai claim that due to five days of Ganeshotsav vacations in a large number of schools here, many schools are yet to receive a circular or any communication pertaining to the proposed live screening of the PM’s message.
Authorities of many city schools said they had already scheduled programmes for the day, but would be willing to make arrangements to incorporate the screening of the PM’s address in their schools, once they get an official message from the education department.
Father Paul Julius, manager of Our Lady of Perpetual Succour (OLPS) High School, a minority school in Chembur, said, “Our students are organising a programme as a token of appreciation to all the teachers. Followed by that, there will be a prayer meet in the church for students and teachers. After that, there will be a get-together of students and teachers in the form of Lunch and games session. In case the department sends us a circular to screen the PM’s address, we will definitely incorporate the same in our schedule.”
“I had received an SMS from somebody about the PM’s address; however we are yet to receive any official letter. We will go ahead with our schedule as planned. Like every year, we’ll have a students and teachers interaction session. For a few hours, students swap roles with teachers and will be teaching in the classes,” said Deepshikha Srivastava, principal of Rajhans Vidyalaya, a CBSE school at Andheri.
Some schools have even planned a small outing or picnic for their teachers on teachers day. “All the 450 teachers of our state board and international schools will be going to watch a movie on teachers day as part of our celebration. However, our main Teachers’ Day celebration will be held on September 4, where students will don the role of principals and teachers for half a session. However, in case we receive any official communication from the education department, we will call our students and teachers to school for the screening on September 5. As of now, our school is closed for Ganeshotsav vacation,” said Hanif Kanjer, director of Rustomjee schools at Dahisar.
Ambar Singh Magar, principal of Colaba BMC School said, “This is the first time I have heard of any PM addressing students on Teachers’ Day. This will create a huge impact on students. Though we have not received any official instructions on the screening, we have already made arrangements for the same in our school.”
Some principals say that the address should have been scheduled for the first half of the school session instead of the second half. Prashant Redij, principal of Hilda Castellino School, an unaided school in Kandivali said, “The address will be broadcast only after 3 pm.. It will be difficult for our morning session students to attend the screening then. Though we will call them, I am sure very less number of students will turn up for the screening. We are planning to record the address and show it to our students the next day.”
The HRD Ministry has begun an unprecedented exercise to ensure that students are able to see and hear the PM’s Teachers’ Day engagement, lasting an hour and 45 minutes, with nearly 1,000 schoolchildren 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.
According to HRD ministry sources, 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.
However, the move has not gone down well with some schools in the city. A principal of a well-known boys school in the western suburbs, who did not wish to be named, said, “On teachers’ day every year, we have a half day. We have a small programme in which our students and teachers are felicitated. However, once we get the directive, we’ll have to make students stay back in school till about 5 pm to watch the Prime Minister’s speech. This seems to be a political gimmick, and why should students be made party to all this.”
The principal of a school in south Mumbai, who did not wish to be named, said, “I am not against broadcasting the PM’s speech. What I am against is making it compulsory for all the schools to screen it. If some schools choose not to screen the PM’s teachers’ day address in their schools, that is fine. Even we are awaiting the education department’s directive.”