The Indian film industry, be it Bollywood or the South Indian industry, is noted for its hush hush attitude when it comes to any issue of national importance. Most of the actors keep mum about speaking about any issue fearing the political class and live in perpetual fear.
Among such celebrities, Suriya shines like a star in its true sense of the term. The South superstar is noted for his social service organization, the Agaram Foundation, established in 2006. Through this organization he is providing free education to needy children, who cannot afford a quality education.
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Recently, Suriya spoke at an event about the Central Government’s ambitious National Education Policy (NEP) draft. The Narendra Modi led Cabinet put the draft bill in the public domain for citizens’ opinions. Suriya spoke about the many shortcomings of the bill and criticised the Government for its flawed draft.
Suriya’s main objection was about the clauses concerning elementary education. The draft bill decides to shut down all the small schools from here on as only 7 to 8 students attend the school. Suriya posed an elementary question about how else can poor children, who cross many rivers and streams to attend these schools, get education? He further stated, the government did give any alternative school option in the draft. Suriya said, the government should instead, better the existing infrastructure and then develop these schools, but should not pluck them out.
The thinking actor posed a pertinent question about the fate of the 1848 small schools which are about to be shut down. He questioned why small schools should be shut for low strength. Suriya further added, the Government should instead initiate awareness programmes to increase the strength of these schools.
The next issue Suriya addressed was about the starting of more board exams, not only in the 10th and 12th standards, but in the 3rd, 5th and 8th standards, from now on. Suriya questioned the merit in having such exams in the beginning stages of education itself. His question was, how can children at such an age be subjected to this treatment.
He also included, many countries in Europe and America, have examinations only from the eighth grade.
The next issue Suriya addressed was about a three language policy. The NEP proposes a three language policy from grade 1 itself. Suriya questioned, when learning their mother language itself is a challenge for kids, how can they cope up with another language, apart from the medium of interaction, English.
The NEP also proposes to start only one common exam for entering various universities in India, instead of each University devising its own exam pattern. The Government will develop a common entrance exam in the future, after graduation.
Suriya wondered how this can be possible with many students already burdened with many exams like the proposed board exams in the 3rd, 5th, 8th, 10th and 12th standards? This, in fact, will give rise to money minting coaching centres, which already have a turnover of Rs. 5,000 crores. Suriya iterated the Government says government students and rural areas are the future of India, but shuts the door of opportunity for these institutions, by encouraging private players in the future.
Suriya mentioned a pertinent fact, schools have 7 A.M., to 7 P.M., schedules currently for coaching students. He asked whether the government is then encouraging much burden on students at this crucial stage.
The most controversial clause of the NEP draft happens to be the reduction of higher education colleges from 50,000 to 12,000. Suriya vehemently criticised this clause and asked, if they do not have colleges in villages, where will the poor go and study? This is injustice to poor students.
Suriya said he had sleepless nights thinking about this policy and urged the public to protest against this policy and its clauses to influence the Central Government
Actor and politician Kamal Haasan came in support of Suriya and his brave attitude to question the Government in a no holds bar manner.
Plaudits are pouring in for Suriya, who as an actor acted sensibly as a responsible citizen of this Country.
Suriya proved he is an asset to the film industry, who not only keeps his admirers happy with his films but behaved sensibly as a responsible citizen of this Country
Hail Singam Suriya!