Schools are the biggest secular centres of our State. When deliberate attempts to endanger secularism are made by various centres, conscious interventions to safeguard it should be made, Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan has said.
He was speaking after inaugurating the State-level Praveshanolsavam at Government Higher Secondary School, Kazhakuttam, here on Wednesday.
The Chief Minister said public schools had played a huge role in promoting secularism in the State. Caste, religion or nothing else separated children. They studied together and played together. People of all religions and castes worked together in schools like in the same family, he said.
Schools also played a critical role in nurturing scientific thinking. There was a need to promote scientific thinking in a big way in the State, Mr. Vijayan observed.
With changing times, knowledge sectors and ways of acquiring knowledge too were getting reinvented. Textbooks were just one way of acquiring knowledge. In this age, children could pick up new technologies easily. Nanotechnology, artificial intelligence, radar technology, bioinformatics and so on, the possibilities in front of them were many. But there should not be any delay in making these available to them till the textbooks were revised. The government was planning special programmes with this in mind, Mr. Vijayan said.
He underlined the importance of all schools becoming disabled-friendly. Inclusive schools were needed at this juncture.
Students who grew up watching flowers, butterflies and other insects learnt to love them. This in future translated into love for their fellow beings. At times, children were denied opportunities to play. This denied them a chance to learn things such as win and losses, and did not prepare them adequately to face further challenges in life, he said. He also called for setting up more playgrounds and play areas for children and the youth in each region to promote public health.
The Chief Minister spoke about the steps taken to ensure education of children during the pandemic and those taken to boost public education. As many as 10.5 lakh children had reached State schools since 2016. However, there was need to further improve the public education sector, he said.
The Chief Minister was welcomed by Shambhudathan, a differently abled student of the school, with ‘magic’ flowers.
Mr. Vijayan also released the academic calendar for the year by handing it over to school Principal Bindu Peter.
Minister for General Education V. Sivankutty who presided over the function said public schools had to be saved at all costs since it benefited common people the most. Those advocating withdrawal of the government from the public education sector should see the decisions taken by the Left Democratic Front government in the State, he said.
He felicitated Sneha Anu, winner of the Best Child Artiste (Female) award at the Kerala State Film Awards this year.