For half-an-hour on Monday, Arunachal Pradesh chief minister Kalikho Pul forgot he was the head of the government in the state and took over the role of a school teacher. Instead of asking the students to read or answer to questions related to their text books, he chose to talk to them about becoming good citizens.
“Love for your country is the most important thing. Yes, you must study hard and understand the lessons instead of simply memorizing them. But then if you don’t love your country, if you do not love your state, then you are not going to do justice to yourself,” Pul, who drove to the Government Middle School in the heart of Itanagar, the state capital, told the students.
“The pattern of education and competition levels is changing day by day. So, you have to prepare yourselves from the lower level. Moreover, you must abstain from bad habits like consuming tobacco products like gutkha. Also, always maintain discipline in life and keep away from bad friends,” he said.
Interacting with the students, chief minister Pul discovered to his dismay that many of the Class VII and VIII students were unable to read and write properly. He was also disappointed that the students were very poor in General Knowledge and were not able to answer many simple questions.
He also asked them about their ambitions in life and advised them to work hard to achieve their dreams. “My friends, the opportunities are not only limited to government jobs, but there is future in fields like games and sports, handloom and handicrafts, music, theatre and so many other fields. It is up to you to choose,” he said.
The chief minister, who also inspected the school’s toilets told the teachers to ensure that toilets, particularly those for girls, must be kept clean. “The teachers’ common room toilet should also be clean,” he said. Schools which did not have proper toilets were later asked to submit proposals to the education department, assuring them that there was no dearth of funds for toilets.
Pul, who took over as chief minister on February 20 after he revolted against the Congress party and its chief minister Nabam Tuki, has made it a point to inspect schools, and more particularly toilets, during his trips to different parts of the state.