It'll be an interaction where one side will be constrained to just listen.
After Prime Minster Narendra Modi and Punjab director general of school education Pradeep Aggarwal, now state education minister Dr Daljit Singh Cheema will address the students, teachers and heads of government schools.
The interaction is planned from 11.45am to 12.15pm on Saturday (May 16) via Edusat, as uploaded on the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) website; but it will require a two-way communication terminal, which in the government schools of Punjab is non-functional since last July. This satellite interactive terminal (SIT) enables students to put questions and get answers.
The information on the website also suggests that the half-hour address will be through ROT (receive-only terminal), which is a one-way communication terminal for education through satellite, which means that the students can only listen. "Higher authorities address the students all the time, but interaction opportunities are rare. How will the teachers, students and school heads put their problems across without two-way communication?" said a school principal on the condition of anonymity, adding: "The government primary and middle schools of Punjab don't even have Edusat laboratories."
"Via ROT, interaction is not possible," Edusat district coordinator Jasbir Singh confirmed, adding: "The head office has not provided us with annual maintenance money, so the SIT is not up and running."
In 20 Ludhiana government schools, even the ROT is down. Either the UPS (uninterrupted power supply) has a snag or UPSes and LCD screens have been stolen. School heads have orders to take the students to the nearest schools where they can listen to Cheema.
In spite of repeated attempts to reach him, the education minister was unavailable for comments.