Education dept’s order on essay on PM sparks row in Gujarat

A recent order issued by the Gujarat Education Depratment to hold an essay competition with the theme ‘My favourite PM – Narendra Modi’ has evoked strong reaction from the state Congress.

In what appears to be a controversial move, on September 14, the state Education Department had issued an order to all the District Primary Education Officers (DPEOs) to conduct an essay competition on the theme ‘My favourite PM – Narendra Modi’, to mark the 71st birthday of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which fell on Friday.

For the competition to be successful, the Education Department had instructed the DPEOs to inform all the primary schools in the state to hold the essay competition in their respective schools, in which any student studying in Classes 5 to 8 could participate.

The schools were also told to select the best three essays and send them to the district officials.

Reacting to the move, Gujarat Congress spokesperson Manish Doshi said on Friday: “This order shows the mindset of the present government, both at the Centre and in the state of Gujarat. It’s like forcibly imposing whatever you wish on the citizens, regardless of whether they like it or not. The sad thing is, now they want to impose things on the tender minds of primary school children. How can you decide on children’s behalf as to who is their favourite PM? The prerogative of choosing one’s favorite lies with that individual, how can the government decide on their behalf?”

“And if you really want to become their favourite, then first improve the sorry state of education in Gujarat. They are closing down around 6,000 government schools to merge them with other faraway schools, causing immense damage to the students besides leading to dropouts,” added Doshi.