On the eve of Teachers Day on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had candid interaction with students across the country during which he gave them tips on how to ignite their minds, improve oratory skills and advised parents not to impose choices on children.
The Prime Minister also underscored the need for having good people in politics to take the country to greater heights. Addressing students and later replying to their questions via video conferencing in the second such initiative, Modi said he has issued direction to replace 'Character certificates' with Aptitude certificates which will reflect the personality of the students when they leave schools.
A relaxed Modi responded to a range of questions including his school days and dress sense during his 105-minute interaction with 800 students and 60 teachers from schools in Delhi who participated in the event at the Manekshaw auditorium in New Delhi. Students from nine other states joined the programme through video conference.
The Prime Minister spoke highly about the role of teachers in nation-building and said he interacts with students on the occasion of Teachers' Day as students are their identity.
"Mother gives birth to a child, (guru) teacher gives life (jeevan). There will hardly be anyone in the world who will not admit the role of their mother and teacher in their life," Modi said.
The Prime Minister said there must have been great teachers behind every successful doctor, engineer and scientist and exhorted the parents to not force choices on
"Sometimes people wonder why spend time with students on Teachers' Day. It is because students are teachers' identity," he said. There was criticism last year that the Prime Minister had ignored the teachers when he interacted with students on Teachers' Day last year.
The Prime Minister also launched two commemorative coins -- one of Rs 125 denomination and another of Rs 10 on the occasion. "A teacher can never retire. Being a teacher is not like any other occupation," he said.
Modi also said that education should not create "robots" as he emphasised the importance of art and culture in students life. When a student from Goa asked him about his favourite sport, Modi in a lighter vein responded, "We all know the games politicians play." He than narrated, how he used to climb trees and learnt swiming.
On politics, he said "Unfortunately politics has acquired a lot of bad name. Talented people from all walks of life are required in politics."
Elaborating on his direction to issue Aptitude certificates, Modi said,"Everybody gets a character certificate from school. I have issued direction to replace
character certificate with aptitude certificate," he said.
Listing various initiatives of his government, Modi said "My aim is to ensure 24X7 power supply across the country by 2022." He said 18,000 villages where there is no power will be electrified in the next 1,000 days.
Seeking to give a new dimension to teaching, Modi asked doctors, engineers and civil servants and others who have excelled in their fields to devote one hour every week or hundred hours every year to teaching children.
"This would give new strength to teaching in the country," he said. In a lighter vien, he then remarked that politicians would not be the best persons for such a thing.
He said that a good teacher may come from anywhere. He cited an instance of an Anganwadi teacher who taught her students about the use of handkerchief to stay clean.
The students posed a range of questions to the Prime Minister from his choice of clothes, to his inspirations in life, waste management and how to inculcate leadership qualities.
The Prime Minister said he doesn't have a fashion designer. "I only dress sober and simple," he said. On a question on leadership, Modi said that politics has
got much maligned but there is need for good, intelligent people to step in this field. He added that the Independence movement under Gandhiji gained strength because people from all walks joined it.
The Prime Minister also told children that they should not get deterred by failure in the pursuit of their goals. There would be hardly any person who has not faced failure, he said while suggesting to them to read Eleanor H Porter's Pollyanna to inculcate a positive outlook in life.
When a student asked him about how he managed mastery in oratory, Modi offered tips on how to become a good speaker. "To be a good orator, you need to be a good
listener...Don't worry about what people will say. Don't be nervous. You should be confident."
The Prime Minister said a habit of keeping notes would also help in a big way. He urged the students to listen to speeches of renowned orators on YouTube.
"You are google guru vidyarthi (students) after all. If you see other speeches online, you will gain confidence," he said.
Earlier, HRD minister Smriti Irani welcomed the Prime Minister and the students.