New Delhi: The Rajasthan education department has decided that all government schools in the state must organise sermons by religious leaders at least once a month.
The academic calendar released by the department says that schools must hold lectures by “Saints-Mahatmas” on the third Saturday of every month, NDTV reported. This calendar has been sent to all district education officers in the state.
In addition, the schools will also hold ‘Bal Sabhas’ for five minutes on Saturdays, Indian Express reported. These ‘sabhas’ can also be held in the zero hour after morning prayers, the calendar said. On the first Saturday of the month, biographies of well-known people will be read out. On the second, students will hear stories on ‘inspiration’ and ‘moral values’. On the third it will be spiritual leaders and on the fourth, quizzes will be organised. On the fifth Saturday, plays on moral values will be enacted and patriotic songs will be sung, the newspaper quoted the calendar as saying.
Speaking to the Hindustan Times, director, secondary education Nathmal Didel said that programmes of this sort were in the 2016-17 calendar as well. “This is irrespective of any religion; it could be a Hindu, Muslim, Sikh or Christian. The saints, who are locally known, respected, and in whom people have faith could share values of life with the students,” he said.
Hindustan Times reported that the education department has also announced another initiative – setting up ‘Bharat Darshan’ galleries in schools. “The move is to apprise over 85 lakh students of the Indian culture and prominent personalities,” tweeted education minister Vasudev Devnani, adding that the galleries will have biographical paintings of freedom fighters and prominent people, and detailed information on rivers.
In March this year, the state education department had said that all government schools must broadcast the address Prime Minister Narendra Modi was giving in Jhunjhunu. In December 2017, students from private schools were compelled to attend an event in Jaipur to mark four years in power for the Vasundhara Raje government. In October last year, the government directed all state colleges to construct statues of Vivekananda on their premises.
In June 2017, The Wire had reported that school textbooks in Rajasthan were revised to glorify the Modi government. “The new social science textbooks have chapters added on demonetisation, Make in India, the negative impact of non-vegetarian food on health, reporting of terrorist activities by media channels, the prime minister’s foreign visits, cashless transactions, NITI Aayog, the 16th Lok Sabha elections, Swachh Bharat Mission and the Paris Agreement, among the Modi government’s other initiatives.”