New Delhi: The government on Saturday kick-started the Bal Swachhta Mission as part of Children's Day celebrations and also launched the 'Udaan' programme for girls, which seeks to prepare them for the IIT-JEE.
Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Smriti Irani launched the Bal Swachhta Mission at the National Bal Bhavan in the presence of hundreds of schoolchildren. Children's Day is celebrated every year on the occasion of first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru's birth anniversary on Nov. 14.
The initiative aims to ensure cleanliness at schools by promoting clean food, clean self, clean drinking water and clean toilets. The mission is part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Oct. 2 on the occasion of Mahatma Gandhi's birth anniversary.
Irani also inaugurated an exhibition capturing interesting incidents of Nehru's life which also features paintings by children on the theme of 'Swachhta'.
A Bal Sansad by the children of Navodaya Vidyalaya on the theme of 'Swachhta' was webcast live from the venue.
Irani announced that on November 17, which is observed as International Students' Day, a group of children would be invited to the Ministry to interact with herself and the officials.
"I have invited students to come to the Ministry and tell us how education can be framed for the children and get feedback from students about our performance in the last six months," she said.
Later in the day, Irani launched the Udaan programme which is designed to provide a comprehensive platform to deserving girl students who aspire to pursue higher education in engineering and assist them in preparing for the IIT-JEE while studying in Classes XI and XII.
The project aims to address the low enrolment of girls in engineering colleges. Only about 10-12 per cent of girls, at present, clear the test for entrance to premier technical institutions such as IITs and NITs. There is no financial burden as the entire programme is free for the beneficiaries.
A total of 946 girl students from across the country have been selected to be part of the programme, of which 117 are from the northeastern states.
Most of these girls, who come from disadvantaged
backgrounds, have shown excellent academic performance in school. The yearly income of the parents of 305 of them is less than Rs 1 lakh.
Quality material -- prepared by the students of IIT, BITS Pilani and teachers of CBSE affiliated schools -- would be provided on tablets and made available online.