Incorporating Bhagwad Gita shlokas in curriculum and other activities, making the ‘Swachh Bharat Abhiyan’ theme song a mandatory part of the morning prayers, and uniforms for employees and officials, apart from students and teachers: These are the proposals included by the Ahmedabad Municipal School Board in the budget for the financial year 2024-25. A total of 1.66 lakh students are enrolled in 449 municipal schools in the city.
On Wednesday, Administrative Officer (AO) L D Desai tabled a proposed budget of Rs 1,094 crore, an increase of Rs 23 crore in comparison to the last year (2023-24).
“The uniform has been proposed to bring equality among schools as well as the school board staff members. Right from Class 1 to Class 4, teachers and students will have a uniform so that everyone feels equal,” AMC School Board AO L D Desai told The Indian Express. An estimated allocation of Rs 10 crore has been proposed in this regard, said officials.
Only a few municipal schools follow uniforms for students at present, he added. If the proposal gets approved, different committees will be constituted to make decisions for uniforms for each segment.
The incorporation of Bhagwad Gita in municipal schools has been proposed not only as a part of the curriculum but also for additional activities, the AO said, “Under this, we can have special sessions on Gita for teachers in auditoriums too. The previous year, as a part of similar activity, Gita shlokas were written at more than 100 public places in the city with the help of municipal school teachers.”
The incorporation of Bhagwad Gita in schools in the state was announced by Gujarat Education Minister Jitu Vaghani in the state assembly during the budget session in March 2023.
The proposed budget further states, “Under the ‘My City My Pride’ campaign, the prayer in all municipal schools will begin from the theme song –‘Swachh bharat ka irada…irada kar liya hai humne, desh se aone ye vada kar liy ahai humne’. Every student should become the safai (cleanliness) ambassador who will take the message to every household.”
Also, eyeing at the 2036 Olympics, the budget has proposed a ‘School for Olympic readiness’ plan under which students will be provided with coaches and sports training.
The proposed draft budget also underlines the formation of a core group and advisor to increase enrollment in schools. Officials claim that in the last five years, the enrolment has increased with a major reverse trend seen from private schools to municipal schools with over 50,000 students have been admitted.
The School Board has also taken up the task of digitisation of school records along with digital records of students, teachers, employees, and pensioners. Around 75 schools are estimated to be over 100 years old, officials stated.
Other proposals by the Board include inspirational stories on walls, clean corner drive, career road shows, historical, cultural, patriotic, and constitutional knowledge of our nation, including grandparents in parents meeting, school management and leadership training for students, and fire safety awareness.