With Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Teachers’ Day speech to be beamed across the nation, officers of the Punjab education department are on tenterhooks. The authorities are banking on watchmen and village panchayats to arrange television sets in the maximum number of schools.
There is hardly any TV set in 239 government primary schools in chief minister Parkash Singh Badal’s home district Muktsar. The situation is similar in most government primary schools across the state.
Davinder Kumar, district education officer (DEO), Muktsar, said, “In some schools, watchmen stay on the campus and they have TVs in their rooms. So, we are requesting them to put these to use. We are also asking panchayats to arrange TV sets for one day. Only 131 government schools out of around 550 in Muktsar have Edusat facility. Hence, arranging TV sets will not be a problem in these schools.”
However, the Edusat system has been installed in rooms which are not big enough to cater to all school students at one time.
Interestingly, the PM’s speech may revive radio sets in government primary schools. These sets have been lying defunct for more than one year as the education department failed to provide the schedule to the public broadcast authority to broadcast the syllabus lessons.
“We will surely use radio sets in primary schools where it would not be possible to arrange TVs.” said Kumar. A teacher said on the condition of anonymity, “These radio sets have not been used for quite some time. Many of these are not even working.”
Meanwhile, the DEO said, “We got instructions today (Wednesday) that students of classes 1 and 2 can be exempted from attending school for the PM’s speech. It would have been difficult to keep these small kids in school till 5pm on Teachers’ Day.”
However, there will be no relief for teachers as they are expected to work for extra hours on their own day.