Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ambitious plan to address students in nearly 14 lakh government schools on Teachers’ Day seems to have hit a hurdle with opposition-ruled states yet to make arrangements to ensure he is heard live.
HT spoke to officials in state education departments of Congress-ruled Haryana, BJD-ruled Odisha and JD(U)-ruled Bihar, and none of these states have started preparations for the day.
"We are yet to hear on this from the state government," Jaganath Mohanty, a joint secretary in the Odisha government’s education department said.
In Haryana, the state whose chief minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda was heckled in the presence of the PM recently, the government has been indifferent to the idea.
"There are no such plans and if there is any I haven’t heard of it," BR Vats, a joint director in the Haryana government’s directorate of secondary education said.
In Bihar, although the PM’s scheduled address has been discussed, the government has not passed on any instructions to officials in the education department.
"It will be extremely difficult for us to make arrangements in every school. Out of 70,000 odd government schools, 25,000 do not have access to electricity. How will we get television sets in these schools?" an official said.
The human resource development ministry (HRD) in a meeting with the state education secretaries on August 26 had asked the states to make appropriate arrangements for the PM’s hour long interaction with 1,000 students from Delhi to be watched/heard by all the students of government schools.
The BJP ruled states on the other hand seem excited about this move.
"We held a video conference on the issue with the districts and are trying to make arrangements for it," Chattisgarh additional chief secretary Aruna Sharma said.
In Rajasthan, another BJP ruled state, the government has instructed its district administration to make television sets available in schools where there is access electricity and radio sets in schools without electricity.