All ears will be voluntarily or compulsorily glued to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's address on Friday on the occasion of Teachers' Day, and for students, the whole exercise is likely to turn into a dreaded, imposed classroom session instead of an inspiring speech.
A huge controversy had erupted over the HRD ministry's unequivocal directive to schools across the country – make watching of the live telecast of PM's address mandatory. While the ministry buckled under severe criticism for its dictatorial demand and left it to schools to decide, it has still gone ahead to issue directives to education secretaries of all states that it will check on how many schools and students followed Modi's address.
For students, of course, Modi will come across as nothing short of the caricatured 'Big Boss', who, in his popular baritone voice, directs 'inmates' in a reality show to follow his every word.
In several schools, students have been warned about 'strict action' if they fail to attend the speech, while in some schools, students will have to take copious notes as Modi speaks, as the management has decided to test them on the speech.
The Bal Bharati Public School in Noida has asked students of Class 3 to Class 12 to pay close attention to the 'key points' of the PM's address, as they will be evaluated on it in the upcoming examinations, The Indian Express reported.
The principal of the school justified the decision to test students on the PM's address as the only way to "force students to think about the PM's vision".
"These days, students understand the language of examinations and marks only, so I decided to test them on the PM's speech. I think this will help them assess their listening abilities also and force them to think on the PM's stand on various issues of national importance," principal Asha Prabhakar told IE.
The speech, of course, is expected to be ridden with patriotic messages.
Addressing students on Teachers' Day is said to be Modi's preferred way of directing children towards 'nation-building', and this time, he even had a few lessons for school teachers – encourage students to think about the nation.
In an email that he sent out to school teachers, Modi has exhorted them to "encourage students to think critically about broader issues concerning our Nation, society and the environment... Lessons in good citizenship inculcated at a young age will go a long way in creating a better society. I hope I can count on your support to make a beginning this Teachers' Day," as reported by The Times of India.
This is, however, not the first time that Modi has directed schools to ensure students key into his every word during the Teachers' Day address. Even during his tenure as the Gujarat Chief Minister, Modi had made it mandatory for schools across the state to view his address, The Economic Times reported.
For students across the country, this Teachers' Day could be their first sample of the controversial 'Gujarat model'.