Valley private schools won’t air Prime Minister speechSeptember 4, 2014
Private schools in Kashmir Valley have decided not to listen to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Teachers’ Day eve speech as has been made mandatory by the ministry of human resources development (MHRD). “Our schools don’t have washrooms and MHRD asks us to install projectors,” a united front of Valley’s private schools said while reacting to the ministry’s diktat. It also termed it “dangerous politicisation of education”.
The MHRD has not only made the Prime Minister’s speech to school children on the day a compulsory event but also renamed Teachers’ Day, celebrated on September 5-the birth anniversary of former President, the late Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan, as “Guru Utsav”. The Opposition-ruled state governments including in West Bengal and Bihar have already refused to implement the MHRD diktat, suspecting that the decision was aimed at pushing a Hindi and Sanskrit agenda through the back door.
Though the Jammu and Kashmir coalition government of Opposition National Conference and Congress has yet to react to the MHRD directive, the Private Schools United Front (PSUF) of Kashmir on Wednesday condemned it asserting “such speeches are usually political in nature and not of any academic value.” General secretary of the PSUF G. N. Var asked, “So how can government justify the act of forcing students to listen to political views of a politician?”
The front also said that the government diktat goes contrary to the rights of students. “Every student has a right to accept or decline listening to any speech and if we are living in a democracy then how can government force students to mandatory listen to it.” The Prime Minister, it said, belongs to a particular political party whose ideology is not in vogue in Kashmir. “We have elections in the near future and the particular party is trying hard to gain ground here, so we will never know whether the speech was intended to influence people,” said Mr Var. He added, “so it is better that students should be given a chance to voluntarily listen or not listen to the speech.”
The front was also of the view that the education system has already been politicised and any such move will further erode its credibility. “Every second day we are witnessing politicisation of education by way of change in curriculum and other activities, now this mandatory speech listening seems to be another step in the same direction,” alleged Mr Var.
The front said that on one hand our schools do not have washrooms and MHRD has taken pains to ask them to install projectors and screen amplifiers for the speech. “Sixty per cent of our government schools do not have any toilets and MHRD has asked them to make available requisite number of televisions, set-top box connections, projectors, screens,” Mr Var said.
Source: The Asian Age