New Delhi, Aug. 12: The country's 15 lakh schools have been asked to help build a "mass fervour" around Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "New India" mission and foster a "patriotic mood" by organising a range of events till August 30 and publicising them through government and media outlets.
The Union human resource development ministry has written to all the state governments and national-level school boards to administer to their students a Sankalp Se Siddhi pledge, as proposed by the Prime Minister, as part of the programme.
It has nudged the schools to organise events such as quiz and painting competitions on the freedom struggle between August 9 and 30.
"In order to create a mass fervour in favour of this national mission, it is requested that due publicity may be given to all these events over the local print and electronic media, social media, websites of the schools/education department and also uploaded on the Shagun platform of the department of school education and literacy (and the) Facebook page (of the ministry," the letter from joint secretary Maneesh Garg says.
Most schools celebrate Independence Day on August 15. This year, the country also observed the 75th anniversary of the Quit India movement on August 9.
"It is desirable that this momentous occasion should be celebrated with an objective to create a festive and patriotic mood across the nation and (that) a movement is created to involve every citizen of this country in the mission of realising the vision of a New India..." says the letter, sent to boards such as the Central Board of Secondary Education, Kendriya Vidyalaya Sangathan, Navodaya Vidyalaya Samiti and the National Institute of Open Schooling.
Modi had in his last Mann Ki Baat radio address on July 30 spoken about a New India and a Sankalp Se Siddhi.
"Come, let's launch a mega campaign, Sankalp Se Siddhi - Attainment Through Resolve - from the 9th of this August. Every Indian, social organisation, local self-government, institution, school, college... all should take one resolve or the other for a New India, a resolve that we will positively fulfil in the next five years," Modi had said.
The New India Pledge ( Sankalp Se Siddhi) reads: "Let us together pledge for a New India. In 1942 our freedom fighters took a pledge of 'Quit India' and in 1947 India achieved Independence. Let us together pledge that by 2022 we build a New India. Let us together pledge towards a Clean India. Let us together pledge towards a poverty-free India. Let us together pledge towards a corruption-free India. Let us together pledge towards a terrorism-free India. Let us together pledge towards a communalism-free India. Let us together pledge towards a casteism-free India. Together let us strive wholeheartedly to accomplish this pledge for a New India."
The ministry letter says the pledge ceremony may be organised at any nearby memorial to martyrs of the independence movement or those of the wars or terrorist strikes since 1947. If there's no such landmark near the school, the event may be held on the school's own compound, possibly before the photograph of a local martyr or freedom fighter. This should be followed by a speech from a teacher or a guest.
A quiz contest on India's development will be held from August 9 to 15 on the MyGov website and the Narendra Modi App. Students of Classes XI and XII can participate online, or by manually answering a printed question paper. The schools should felicitate their local-level winner.
The schools are expected to organise a painting competition for pupils of Classes VI to X on the subject of the freedom struggle on August 9 or 10. The best painting should be displayed on the school notice board, magazine and website, with the winner felicitated.
Higher education regulator UGC too has sent a similar circular to the 800 universities and 40,000 colleges under it, asking them to observe a "New India Manthan" during this period.
The institutions have been asked to organise talks on the freedom movement, take the Sankalp Se Siddhi pledge, hold quiz contests and conduct guided tours to memorials of martyrs.
After receiving the ministry letter, the Central Board of Secondary Education has passed on its contents to its 19,000 affiliated schools through a circular.
"All the schools shall celebrate this occasion with an objective to create a festive and patriotic mood across the nation and (ensure that) a movement is created to involve every citizen of this country in the mission of realising the vision of a New India," the circular says.
The board has advised the schools not to break their daily routine or put the children under too much strain while conducting these events.