National anthem row in Bengaluru schools: BC Nagesh tells News9 that 'principals acknowledged mistakes' – News9 LIVE

2022-08-18T18:26:27+05:30
A file image of Karnataka Education Minister BC Nagesh.
Bengaluru: With three schools in Bengaluru facing flak from the Karnataka government for allegedly not making the students sing the national anthem during morning prayers, News9 reached out to the principals of these institutions to understand the situation. The state government had pulled up these schools after the Education Department received complaints that the national anthem was not being sung by students. On Thursday, the principal of one of the three schools denied the allegations, while the principal of the other clarified that they were “unaware the national anthem needs to be sung daily”.
Education Minister BC Nagesh confirmed to News9 that notices were sent to St Joseph’s Boys’ High School, Baldwin Girls’ High School and Bishop Cotton Boys’ High School in Bengaluru. He said that all three schools were not making the students sing the national anthem and the department had received oral complaints from NGOs and locals in the area.
“The schools have acknowledged and said that the mistakes will be rectified,” he added.
Fr Sunil Fernandes, the principal of St Joseph’s Boys’ High School, said that the school has been making the students sing the national anthem whenever there is a field assembly.
“Whenever we have the field assembly, where all the students and the staff are gathered together, the national anthem is sung. The field assembly is held on Tuesday on Friday. Rest of the days, the assembly is conducted from the principal’s office where we play the recorded version of the national anthem. The students who will be in the respective classrooms will sing the national anthem along with the recorded version,” Fernandes told News9.
If the assembly has to be conducted in the field for all the days, the principal said, it will be done.
“The complaint given to the Education Minister is incorrect as we have not skipped the National Anthem,” he stressed.
The principal also said that the Deputy Director of Public Instruction (DDPI) had visited the school and he acknowledged that they were singing the national anthem during the days when the field assemblies were held.
“He asked us to continue playing the recorded version whenever we have the assembly from the principal’s office,” he added.
Asha Das, the principal of Baldwin Girls’ High School, acknowledged that the mistake was committed unintentionally.
“We were unaware that we had to sing the national anthem every day. We apologise for the unintentional mistake. Whenever the school holds the field assembly – on Monday, Thursday and Friday – we have sung the national anthem with due respect,” Das told News9.
Das said that the DDPI visited Baldwin Girls’ High School and served them notice as to why the national anthem was not sung and demanded a response. She said that the school administration sent the response and said that the national anthem will be sung every day.
She also added that they had stopped field assemblies due to the COVID-19 protocols and hadn’t received any other guidelines from the government asking them to make the students sing the national anthem daily.
The principal of the Bishop Cotton Boys’ High School was unavailable for a comment when News9 called their office.
On Wednesday, days after the DDPIs visited the schools and took stock, the Education Department issued an order making singing the national anthem compulsory in all government, aided and unaided schools and pre-university colleges in the state.
The order also stated that if there is a lack of space for the students to gather outside, they can sing the national anthem in the classrooms.
Education Minister Nagesh said that no specific committees will be formed for the implementation of the order but the department officials will keep a vigil on the schools.
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