Actor-politician Rajinikanth has responded to Suriya’s comments on the draft recommendations of the National Education Policy saying that he has raised more awareness about the issue, although the questions he has raised are a topic of debate.
He spoke at the Kaappaan audio launch last evening in Chennai, attended by director Shankar, lyricist Vairamuthu, Suriya, Mohanlal and director KV Anand, among others. Kaliban Vairamuthu, the film’s lyricist, reportedly said during his speech that if Rajinikanth responded to Suriya’s comments on NEP, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would listen.
To this, Rajinikanth said, “I welcome the questions raised by Suriya on NEP. Even though his comments are a topic of debate, they have brought consciousness. Suriya has seen the problems faced by students and this has prompted him to raise the questions. I am told that if I respond to the issue, Prime Minister Modi would listen. But Modi has heard what Suriya said.”
Suriya thanked the star on Twitter today, for his presence and support.
— Suriya Sivakumar (@Suriya_offl) July 22, 2019
Rajinikanth, who has supported Modi on several occasions and was one of the few celebrities in the South to welcome the BJP’s victory in the Lok Sabha elections this year, was referring to the opposition to Suriya’s speech by BJP and AIADMK ministers who condemned Suriya saying he was factually wrong about NEP.
BJP National Secretary H Raja said that the three-language policy recommended by NEP was optional and will not be imposed, and NEP does not ask for public exams for smaller classes. He said in a press meet, “Suriya has said that ‘if we keep quiet’ NEP will be implemented. Can he speak like that? Doesn’t that mean that he wants to disturb peace?”
3,5,8, வகுப்புகளுக்கு பொதுத் தேர்வு என்று எங்குமே சொல்லவில்லை. கற்பித்தல்-கற்றல் முறையினைத் திட்டமிட மாணவர்களின் முன்னேற்றத்தினை கணித்திட state census examinations நடத்தப்படும்NEP பக்கம் 107 பார்க்க @news7tamil @News18TamilNadu @PTTVOnlineNews @ThanthiTV , pic.twitter.com/b7C3Di26fg
— H Raja (@HRajaBJP) July 19, 2019
Suriya responded to the criticism saying that he only spoke out as a concerned citizen, and that his NGO Agaram Foundation and its volunteers helped him understand the state of education.
The policy states that to track students’ progress through their school years, there will be a State census exam in classes 3, 5, and 8, in addition to board examinations in classes 10 and 12. Suriya spoke against this and also criticised the three-language policy that asks for students to be “exposed to three or more languages with the aim of developing speaking proficiency and interaction,” saying it was vague and was likely to be imposed on students.
Several celebrities came out in Suriya’s support, including actor-politician Kamal Haasan who issued a statement saying saying he agreed with Suriya, and condemned the Central and State governments.
Director SA Chandrasekar, actor Vijay’s father, spoke to the media after casting his vote in the Directors’ Union elections yesterday, and said that he supported Suriya’s stance and it was worrying that people were not able to express their opinions freely.