From now onward, school students across Gujarat will have to respond to the attendance call with ‘Jai Hind’ or ‘Jai Bharat’ instead of ‘Yes Sir’ or ‘Yes Madam’. The Gujarat education board on Monday issues a circular stating this will foster “a feeling of patriotism”, among the young children. The objective of the new practice is to “foster patriotism among students right from childhood,” the circular said. A notification in this regard has been issued in an effort to ‘instill nationalism’.
The notification, issued by the Directorate of Primary Education and Gujarat Secondary and Higher Secondary Education Board (GSHSEB), says that it applies to all students of classes 1 to 12 of the government, grant-in-aid and self-financed schools. The notification indicates that the decision was taken by the state’s education minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama during a review meeting on Monday. “Even local private schools have said that this is a good decision of the state government,” he claimed.
Defending the move, Gujarat Education Minister Bhupendrasinh Chudasama said the government should be open to accepting “good suggestions”. “‘Jai Bharat’ and ‘Jai Hind’ are much better than ‘Yes Sir’. Saying ‘Jai Hind’ or ‘Jai Bharat’ creates a feeling of patriotism, which is why I have decided to make the change,” he told reporters. Criticising the Gujarat government, state Congress President Amit Chavda said the new practice “will not change the quality of education” in the government and affiliated schools. “The BJP government has made several efforts to instill patriotism among school students. Altering a certain practice will not improve the standard of education,” he said.
Government should focus on improving the quality of education in Gujarat where nearly 6 lakh students of class 6 to 8 cannot do basic reading, writing or basic arithmetic, top sources of the education department told the TOI. While the state government claims of improving the quality of school education through its own Gunotsav surveys, lakhs of students failed to write a simple sentences in their mother tongue, Gujarati. Time of India, on October 23, reported that three of every ten students in classes 6 to 7 and 8 at government schools in the state cannot read and write basic simple sentences in Gujarati and English. They cannot even do basic arithmetic, like adding or subtracting the single digit numbers.
The Indian Express, on May 7, reported the findings of a survey National Achievement Survey, released by HRD Ministry. The survey was conducted in all the 33 districts of the Gujarat interviewing over 1.25 lakh students.
Major findings of NAS
- Survey shows a consistent decline in the learning levels of students in subjects like mathematics– 65 to 47 percent, language– 71 to 64 percent, and science– 68 to 52 percent from Class III to Class VIII in both government schools and government-aided schools.
- 17 percent of school students find difficult to travel to school.
- 18 percent of school buildings were in need of urgent repair.
The poor school infrastructure and the declining standard of education in government and government-aided schools have led to a boom in the number of private schools in the state. The rise in demand of private schools also led to a surge in the fees. With parents finding it difficult to pay high fees, the government last year passed a law to regulate the school fees. However, the law has not been implemented till now in full due to numerous litigations and political slugfest over it.
Although the state have 44,000 governments school, 16,000 private schools, 9,300 primary, 3800 secondary and 3100 higher secondary schools, the status of education system in Gujarat is very disappointing.