Delhi govt school students interact with army colonel

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In a session as part of the motivational speaker series of the government, students of government schools interacted with Colonel Rajesh Gupta, an army officer, on Monday, who shared tips on joining the army with students.

An alumni of a Delhi government school, Gupta shared his experience of working with the army with students during the interaction that was presided over by deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia. While 75 students attended the interaction in person at SKV No. 1 Shakti Nagar, around 13,000 children joined the program through YouTube Live.

The motivational speaker series is an initiative of the government for children studying in government schools in Delhi as part of which military officers, IAS, and IPS officers share their experiences related to studies and preparation with the children directly.

During the interaction, Gupta gave tips for applying to UPSC and SSB entrance exams to students. He also apprised children about other opportunities such as technical entry scheme, short service scheme, CDS, and AFMC through which one could join the army.

Sisodia, who holds the education portfolio, said that the government wanted every student in Delhi government schools to inculcate the spirit of deshbhakti. “It’s a proud moment for Delhi government schools as one of their own is serving the nation and we want that every child of ours should have the spirit of deshbhakti, so that their every step is for the progress of the country,” he said.

Director of education Udit Prakash said that the interactive session was aimed at instilling confidence in children by dispelling the myths of NDA and UPSC preparation. He said that the Delhi government will also start an Armed Forces Preparatory School in Delhi which will prepare students for the NDA exam.

UPSC topper Shubham Kumar says ambition and potential must match to get success

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Shubham Kumar, 24, a local boy of Kumhari village village under Kadwa block of Katihar district in Bihar became global overnight by topping in the most coveted UPSC examination, 2020. He has a resolve to address all those issues which are related to people. He believes every public servant should be ‘people connect’ as he/she is expected to serve the grassroots people.

Kumar who switched to UPSC after doing civil engineering from IIT Bombay frankly admits that his study at IIT has played a pivotal role in shaping his personality. Here are the excerpts of the interview with Shubham Kumar

When did you first think about UPSC?

When I was a child living in my village, I saw people facing a lot of problems and at that very time I decided to become an IAS officer so that I could lessen their sufferings at least to some extent. And I am really happy that my childhood dream has been translated into reality and I have got a chance to serve them.

What are the problems especially in rural areas that needs to be addressed

Every rural area has its own problems. For example Katihar is badly affected by floods and I will focus on mitigating the sufferings of the people by doing something to check recurrent floods. Wherever I am posted, I will try to take up ‘people connect’ issues, such as education, health services etc. In addressing every problem people’s participation is imperative and I will never miss taking their suggestions and also their feedback on the implementation of the schemes while discharging my duty as a public servant.

What do you think about education in Bihar?

Government is doing better but there is a need to do much better in both quality education and infrastructure development. Education plays an extremely important role in our society and hence you can’t take it lightly. It has the power to fight every odd that comes into our way. This is my first visit to my native village after my success in the UPSC and frankly speaking I love to interact with school children and hence go to schools.

Any question that children asked you during your interaction with school children?

Yes, I saw them very enthusiastic and they all want to do big things. One of the little children asked me if he wanted to be an IAS officer, and his question took me back to my school days as I too was to think in a similar way. But children must focus on their studies at school.

It is seen that the students get distracted while opting their career, what do you want to say to those students?

Life is full of distractions and everybody has to face them. By analyzing the situation, distractions can be kept at the bay. Power of self assessment and self analysis may bring a student out of such distractions.

Share your UPSC cracking strategy with those who want to make their career in it

Self analysis is at the root of every strategy you plan in your life. Your ambition and your potential must match to get through.

I started preparing for UPSC from IIT Bombay but it received momentum in 2018 and I cleared UPSC in 2019 and joined defence accounts service. IIT Bombay made me think objectively which helped me a lot. But I kept on preparing and finally success came to me. But very truly I was not expecting this; it finally came to me in 2020.

What were the questions in your interview?

Questions were from diverse fields from rural background to civil engineering and then from defence accounts service in which I was selected in 2019. I answered them without getting distracted. UPSC or any competitive examinations expect you to be direct, objective and simple.

You are fortunate having received support from your parents

Yes, I must give credit to my parents for what I am today. They never discouraged me and stood by me through thick and thin. I appeal to all the parents to keep faith in their children and children too must not do anything to discredit their parents. Mutual trust must lead to success.

Lack of social & educational motivation for UPSC exams

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‘Go to school to know how to write love letter and to propose to a girl’ (khie leit skul tang ban nang ban thoh shithi samla ban phah kylli kynthei), my mother told me in my early days of schooling. Likewise, there are many people from rural backgrounds who go to school with the same intention. If such is the understanding of the society regarding the children’s education, how can we expect to produce local IAS officers? Who can motivate them to appear for competitive exams? Is our common society aware of such exams? In fact, when we were asked our aims in life during our school days, our usual response as kids were teacher, taxi driver, nurse, doctor etc. None of were aware of the civil services (IAS, IFS, IPS) as a profession. If such was the situation, how can we produce such officers from our local community? I strongly believe that such attitudes are still common even today. Perhaps only people in the city are more aware of the competitive exams.

I remember asking students in Nagaland about their aims in life, their common response was IAS and IPS. Therefore, is our education system wrong, that our local kids are not formed to aim for such a profession in life? The appointment of Ms. Rebecca Suchiang as the new Chief Secretary (CS) of Meghalaya will certainly encourage many locals to strive for UPSC exams. In fact, she herself in her first appearance to the local news channels as the new CS encouraged the local people to strive for public exams and added that UPSC is not tough provided people work hard and allocate certain number of hours of study every day. However, as a general observation local people are less likely to attempt such public exams and many ended up with the preliminary stage (first attempt).

Patricia Mukhim’s article ‘A lady Chief Secretary on Meghalaya’s 49th year’ (ST October 1, 2021) pointed out that stunting and wasting are the big challenges to the children of Meghalaya which also affect the cognitive domain. If the writer observed correctly her write-up, mentioned that research on local children found that poverty and malnutrition affect the cognitive domain of children which is where reasoning and problem solving reside. I do not agree with her views; instead in my personal observation, the lack of social and educational motivation for UPSC exams is the main cause for not having more local IAS officers.

Yours etc.,

Aiborlang Nongsiej


On grooming our students


During the COVID lockdown, most of the students were without school textbooks. As books were not included as essential items, none of the bookstalls were allowed to open. Many teachers and concerned parents had also come forward to air their concerns through this leading daily. Truly, “idleness” of the mind for long stretches has taken a heavy toll on the minds of the students. COVID might have now receded but the psychological wounds will definitely take a longer time to heal. However, here the SSA management in Meghalaya deserves appreciation for supplying free text books particularly for the core-subjects to students across the state by the middle of February 2021. This has indeed turned out to be a salvation for students following the MBOSE syllabus.

However, some Hindi teachers and parents lamented because they found it very hard to teach the students the Hindi language during the lockdown without the books. Some say since the students from the MBOSE affiliated schools hardly purchase Hindi textbooks from the market, most of them have not read or even written a single sentence in the last one and half years. But they all got promoted to the higher classes in 2020 and the same will happen in 2021. Another teacher who did not wish to be named said that by neglecting the teaching of Hindi and not providing free Hindi textbooks under SSA the Government is affecting the careers of tribal students should they choose to go out of the state to pursue higher studies.

Needless to say, our tribal students perform abysmally in Hindi and often find it very hard to measure up to students from the plain areas. This fact often comes in the news. The lack of Hindi communicative skills among the students invariably stands as a big impediment in many respects. I have met with several political leaders and bureaucrats who deeply regretted not having even the basic working knowledge of this link language. However, very interestingly, we can take pride in our Chief Minister Shri Conrad Sangma, including the previous CM Dr Mukul Sangma, who not only speak but they deliver the speeches in fluent, impeccable Hindi. So, it is always worthwhile to give little more emphasis on teaching the subject that will help raise the capability of students and thereby enable them to compete with their peers in the plain areas. The current ascendency of Ms. Rebecca Suchiang as the Chief Secretary has puffed up our chests with pride. However, this state should groom “more and more” IAS, IPS, CA, CS, MBBS… who will not just come back and serve in their home state but also outside the state.

Language communicative skills should not be a barrier at all. Each student should be well adorned with all academic achievements. The intellectual splendour of Meghalaya should spread all across the country and beyond its horizons too.

Yours etc.,

Salil Gewali,