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Modi govt asks officers to visit schools to teach students good governance

The Narendra Modi-led National Democratic Alliance government has asked senior officers to visit schools to interact with students and share their experiences and perspectives. The scheme is proposed to be launched on January 1, and comes on the heels of Prime Minister Modi’s suggestion to senior bureaucrats to visit the district of their first posting.

Modi, as Chief Minister of Gujarat, had launched a similar project in that state that encouraged senior government officers to visit schools. According to draft guidelines, the objective of the scheme is to “strengthen the moral fabric of the nation by instituting a sense of pride in nation building” and “sensitising the senior officers about the mindset and aspirations of the students.” The guidelines have suggested that officers should ensure “that the topics covered are nationalist, secular and apolitical.” It, however, warns that “critique of government would not be encouraged”.

The Department of Personnel and Training (DoPT) has invited suggestions from the bureaucracy about the framework of the project as also suggest a name for the scheme. “Officers would be encouraged to become part of this programme to be run in collaboration with the Department of School Education & Literacy,” a memorandum from the DoPT, issued Wednesday, stated.

The suggested names for the initiative are ‘Garv’, ‘Rashtra Nirman’, ‘Sampark’. The inspiration for the project comes from the PM’s address to students on Teachers’ Day on September 5, the draft guidelines said. He had said there were many doctors, engineers and officials/civil servants who wish to volunteer to teach and interact with students.

The initiative will lay special emphasis on officers who have done a foreign posting/training/exposure. Students from class eight onwards are likely to be covered in the first phase of the school in the National Capital Region of Delhi.

The Department of School Education and Literacy has been asked to make available the list of Kendriya Vidyalayas and Navo Vidayalayas. The list of schools from states will be obtained from respective state governments. The interaction is likely to be an hour long between 7 am and 9 am on Tuesday and Thursdays.

The bureaucrats could cover subject areas like ethics, nation building, environment protection, development, good governance, etc. Officers have also been asked to make presentations that could include film clips, videos, story-telling, quiz, etc. The draft guidelines have suggested that the talk could be of 20-minutes followed by interaction with students. “Under no circumstances the talk should be more than 25 minutes,” it says.

The details of such workshops taken by senior officers will be put on the website of the government departments. The government will also evaluate the “outcome” of the exercise in the form of joint feedback meetings of the DoPT, Department of Administrative Reforms, and Ministry Human Resource Development.

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