The NDA government is planning a grander-than-usual Teachers’ Day this September 5, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi assuming a more personal role in an affair customarily limited to the President awarding meritorious teachers.
The PM would like to bond with children and teachers from across the nation, engaging in a free-wheeling chat, possibly via a nationwide live video-conference, a source said.
In a first, he is also likely to host the award-winning teachers a day before or after President Pranab Mukherjee gives away the accolades at Vigyan Bhawan.
A defining style of Modi’s stint in office has been his penchant for novelty in government affairs, which will be reflected on Teachers’ Day, the source added. On Independence Day, the PM had chucked a bullet-proof enclosure and spoke extempore from Red Fort.
Several ministries are trying to schedule events on Teachers’ Day in line with suggestions provided by Modi’s aides, the source said.
The PM was looking for an opportunity to interact with teachers to get first-hand insights into the school-education sector and its problems, another source said.
India’s government-school system remains abysmally poor with an NGO report in 2013 saying 53% of Class 5 students in rural areas are unable to read Class 2 texts.
Modi is expected to emphasize education for girls as high priority and focus on moral education, given the increasing number of crimes – including rape -- committed by youths. Another new facet to Teachers’ Day this year will be across-the-board celebrations by almost all educational entities, from schools and universities to IITs and medical colleges.
Modi’s chat with children -- a throwback to Nehru -- could help boost his image with youngsters further and fits in with his liking for all things grand, said Renu Saravaran of the Mumbai-based Institute of Psychology and Allied Sciences.