Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Professor Vipin Tripathi's letter to the Prime Minister on his takeover of Teachers Day // Shikha Sen - Respect the autonomy of our schools

Sadbhav Mission
B16, Sarvodaya Enclave, New Delhi 110017

Prof. V. K. Tripathi

Shri Narendra Modi
Hon’ble Prime Minister
South Block
New Delhi 110001

September 10, 2014-09-10

Sub.: Prime Minister’s Address to Children on Shikshak Divas

Hon’ble Sir,

Shikshak Divas has a sanctity. It has been an occasion i) for teachers to introspect and realize that a lamp lights as long as it burns itself, a teacher can teach only as long as he keeps learning, and ii) for students to express their love and gratitude towards their teachers to strengthen the bond of oneness. The strictures and dictates passed on schools on this shikshak divas overshadowed and dumped that motive. In fact converting shikshak divas into guru parva and forcing students country wide to watch your speech/ interaction live appeared more like an exercise in self projection than in touching tender souls.

Soul is touched by the totality of personality, by the tender and personal touch. Your persona as a power figure, as an authority superior to all others has little for children to emulate, to sublime their ego, arrogance or desire to cheat to gain superiority. You may call your self the first servant but you do not reflect the humiliation and hardship a servant lives. He/ she never gets the round the clock media coverage as you have been getting for the last one year, ever since your Lallan College speech on August 15, 2013.

The children and parents are already exhausted of watching you on TV channels. Forcing them to watch you for additional two hours in specially arranged display systems in schools which do not have adequate number of teachers and classrooms and where half the teachers are heavily underpaid, is not commensurate with the spirit of academics and education. Rather than shadowing the personality of teachers by a virtuous personality, it would be much healthier to let teachers blossom and students grow in an atmosphere of freedom where there are no pressures and no discrimination of gender, caste, religion, language or status.

Internet connectivity to schools is a positive thing but it should not be only for a day in a year. It must also be remembered that internet or TV learning is no substitute for class room teaching. Teacher is the backbone of teaching and he must be sustained with dignity and given freedom to operate. Students are the souls of schools and they must be respected.

On behalf of Sadbhav Mission and our countrymen, I urge you and MHRD to stop this exercise of projecting executive authority as super guide.  

Best regards
V.K. Tripathi

Ministry of Human Resources Development, 
Govt of India., Shastri Bhawan, New Delhi – 110001 
Directorate of Education, Ch Mahander Singh Marg, 
B-Block, Yamuna Vihar, New Delhi, Delhi 110053 

Respect the autonomy of our schools. 

We, the under-signed, would like to express our strong objection to how the Directorate of Education, Govt of NCT, Delhi, following the nation-wide order from the Ministry of Human Resources Development, compelled all schools into holding their children back, beyond school hours, in order to listen to the live telecast of the PM’s speech, on Teachers’ Day, on the 5th of Sept, 2014. 

In their circular No.DE/15/Act-1/2014/25983-25994, dated 29.8.’14, points no 10., 11. and 12. state that 

· 10. Before start of the programme, all heads of the school shall submit the details of number of students viewing the programme on the online module available at the link School Plant – PM’s live Address to School Children after logging in the website of Directorate of Education i.e. 

· 11. All Districts of DDEs/Eos/DEOs will visit the schools during this time falling in their jurisdiction to monitor and ensure that directions are being complied with in letter and spirit. 

· 12. All above directions are to be complied with strictly by HOS of Govt/Govt. Aided/Unaided/MCDs/NDMS/Cantonment Board of Schools. Any laxity in the arrangements shall be viewed seriously. 

Why was this made mandatory? Why was the session to be monitored and verified by inspections? If this event was for the children, surely their needs should have been paramount. This should have been scheduled during their normal school hours, and the Prime Minister should have adjusted his schedule accordingly. 

In a country, where over half the schools do not have basic infrastructure and facilities, like water, toilets or even complete buildings, was it really worth spending so much of time and resources on making these arrangements? 

The coercive nature of the circular goes against our notions of democratic rights, civil liberties, and respect for the child. Therefore we would like to register our protest against such high-handed behavior on the part of the DoE in Delhi and by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, all over the country 


(Please read, sign if you approve, and pass on)