DC Edit | \'Santa\' Jagan brings digital hope
It would surprise most Indians outside the Telugu states to learn that Andhra Pradesh under one of the country's youngest chief ministers, Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, probably spends the highest proportion of its revenues on direct welfare programmes for its citizens. Or that one of the most important primary and higher secondary educational initiatives in the country is being scripted in AP under the YSRC party government.
On his birthday, chief minister and YSRC party head Jagan Mohan Reddy distributed a record, over half a million digital tablets to students of Class VIII, and announced that it was not a freebie for electoral gains but a sustainable annual plan, wherein every year, students of Class VIII would get a pre-programmed digital tab for online classes and supplementary digital support for education.
This move is the next step in a series of moves scripted to make government school education in the state competitive and aspiration-worthy. Despite the opposition by Telugu Desam party chief N. Chandrababu Naidu, who tried to whip up linguistic passions in the name of Telugu pride, Jagan Mohan Reddy went ahead with a reform to make all Andhra schools teach in the English medium.
Jagan Reddy not only, and rightly, believes English would make the students more competitive but that it would also lead to parents, especially those from the economically weaker sections, actually avoiding the temptation to send their children to expensive private schools for its sake.
Now, with the introduction of digital literacy and also a facility for which the Andhra Pradesh government has tied up with a leading private online education platform, state government students can also achieve proficiency levels matching the CBSE board syllabus.
If Mr Naidu once upon a time brought a tech revolution in Hyderabad, the revolution being brought in by Jagan will harness the power of English, globalisation and digital connectivity to create a new generation of confident citizens, ready for the 21st century. And Jagan, like a true statesman, thinking not of the next election but of the next generation, is heralding an early Christmas, bringing gifts for kids across the state. Santa Jagan indeed!