H.E. the Governor of Punjab and Administrator Chandigarh, Sh. Shivraj.V Patil released a Booklet titled “How to become a good citizen” today in presence of the senior officials of the Chandigarh administration. The book contains the transcript of the unique experiment on “How to become a good citizen of India” by Sh.Ram Niwas, Home –cum- Education Secretary Chandigarh Administration during his visits to various Government schools in Chandigarh.
The Governor lauded the efforts of Secretary Education in bringing out the book, contributing a lot in Character building in inspiring the young minds. This booklet gives details of his exclusive experiment of interacting with the government school students on various issues like personal hygiene, civic sense, fundamental duties, moral values, management of time, planning home work, drug de-addiction etc.
The interactive session covers almost all topics which are important to make them good citizens. The uniqueness of this programme lies in the fact that Education Secretary visits these schools personally once or twice a week in the morning and interacts with them in an interactive, informal gup-shup mode. It is not a monologue, rather, an interactive session having question-answers, slogans shouting, anecdotes, jokes, dramatization etc. The methodology is so interesting, that whatever Secretary tells them leaves a lasting impression on them. The traditional system of imparting moral values to the children through rallies, organizing marches etc. has become too stereotyped and the students take it as a ritual rather than a serious indoctrination.
On visit to the first school, Secretary Education asked the students, what they would like to become in life. Many of them had no idea as to what they wanted to become in life. The socio-economic condition of many of these government school students, especially, in the ‘Non-Model schools’ which are in the villages and rehabilitation colonies, is very poor. Their parents are not equipped to educate them. In many cases, the children do not even know the basics of personal hygiene what to talk of civic sense and other issues.
There are 106 government schools in Chandigarh with student strength of 1.11 lac. The schools located in the posh sectors have been designated as ‘Modal Schools’. There, the medium of instruction is English and the students come from comparatively better socio-economic background. The rest from very poor socio-economic background.
Secretary Education started interactive gup-shup from the ‘Non-Model’ Schools. The average number of students in a school is anywhere between 1000 to 2000. The ideal time for interaction is the morning assembly when his target students from class 6th to the class 12 assemble. The seating arrangement, with widely spaced rows, facilitates my swift movement between rows of students for better interaction with the students. Secretary uses a cordless mike and the students are provided 2-3 cordless mikes for the question answer session. The language of communication is simple Hindi with sprinkling of English words. In case of Model Schools, the medium of interaction is English with intervention of Hindi. A team of doctors under the School Health programme always remains present as during the interaction, some questions are asked pertaining to the health issues. Some innovative posters on various issues such as drug de-addiction etc. are displayed as visual aid. Besides, a full size human skeleton, covered under a veil is also shown. The veil is lifted at the end of the interaction to create a dramatic effect about the ill-effects of drug addiction on human health.
In the first school visit, one of the students when asked what he wanted to become in life, replied that he wanted to become a prime Minister of India, to which the other students laughed. Secretary told them that it was possible to become the Prime Minister of India if the students observed and adhered to what he tells them, and if they did not observe what he tells them they could end up becoming a skeleton. This is how interaction programme was also popularly called, “How to become the Prime Minister of India and not a Skeleton”.
In order to keep this programme free from any formality, no formal welcome speech, no rituals, no bouquets are offered. HS goes straight to the students with a cordless mike in his hand and starts his interaction.