Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday gave valuable suggestions and advice to students preparing for exams, emphasising the importance of sound sleep, nutrition, resilience, decisiveness, written work, physical fitness and regulating screen time.
The Prime Minister took questions from students, teachers and parents from different parts of the country during the seventh edition of Pariksha Pe Charcha (PPC) held at Bharat Mandapam and also dwelled on the role of challenges and healthy competition.
During the interaction, the Prime Minister made several comments in a lighter vein evoking smiles and clapping from students.
Dwelling on the significance of hard work and sound sleep, the Prime Minister gave his example and said he gets deep sleep almost as soon as he hits the bed.
Noting that habits like screen time are eating into the required sleep which is also being strongly emphasised by modern health science, the Prime Minister said less sleep is not good for the body.
"Just like a mobile requires charging to function, similarly it is very important to keep the body recharged because keeping the body healthy is very important for a healthy mind. For this, getting proper sleep is also very important," he said.
He emphasised maintaining a balanced lifestyle, avoiding excess of everything and taking the required amount of sunlight.
"Do not underassess the value of sleep, when your mother says 'go to sleep', do not consider it interference....Whether you get proper sleep or not, it is very important, you should pay attention. Get the required sleep and also see if it is sound sleep or not. It should be very sound sleep," he said.
He said sometimes people can find it difficult to get sound sleep after they go to bed.
".365 days, no exception, as soon as I get to bed, within 30 seconds...that I have not gone towards sound sleep, this does not happen. It takes me 30 seconds...why because, the time I am awake, I stay fully awake," he said.
"Jab jagrit hun to poori taraeh Jagrit hun, jab soya hun to poori taren soya hun (when I am awake, I am fully awake, when I am asleep, I am fully asleep)," PM Modi said, emphasising the need for "balance".
Answering queries, the Prime Minister said that questions regarding cultural and societal expectations have come up in the Pariksha Pe Charcha programme.
He emphasised the role of teachers in mitigating the impact of added pressure from external factors on students and urged students to become strong and capable of handling pressure.
"My approach which I found useful is that 'I challenge every challenge'. I do not wait passively for the challenge to pass. This gives me an opportunity to learn all the time. Dealing with new situations enriches me," he said.
"My biggest confidence is that I have 140 crore countrymen with me. If there are 100 million challenges, there are billions of solutions. I never find myself alone and everything is on me, I am always aware of the capabilities of my country and countrymen. This is the fundamental crux of my thinking. The more I enhance the capabilities of my countrymen, my ability to challenge the challenges improves," he added.
PM Modi said that decision-making becomes easier when the resolve to do something is strong.
Throwing light on the power of positive thinking, the Prime Minister said that it gives strength to look for positive outcomes even in the most negative situations.
"I have shut all doors and windows of disappointment in my life. When there is no selfish motive, there is never confusion in decision," he said.
He gave the example of the COVID-19 pandemic and said that he chose to rally the people and raise their collective strength.
"Government strives to make a nation where not just the present but future generations have a chance to shine and show their capabilities," he said.
The Prime Minister urged the students, families and teachers to collectively address the issue of external stress rather than implementing a systematic theory. He also suggested that families of students should discuss different ways that work for each of them.
Addressing the issue of peer pressure and competition among friends, the Prime Minister highlighted the importance of competition and said it should be healthy.
He pointed out that often the seeds of unhealthy competition are planted in the family situations leading to perverse competition among siblings.
PM Modi asked the parents to avoid comparison among the children and noted that doing well in exams is not a zero-sum game.
He urged students to compete with themselves and called upon parents not to compare their children with other children.
He also asked them not to make the achievement of their children their visiting card and called upon students to rejoice in the success of their friends. "Friendship is not a transactional emotion," he said.
Throwing light on the role of teachers in motivating students, the Prime Minister underlined that music can relieve the stress of students.
He said teachers should not give priority only to bright students in a class, be accessible and build a healthy rapport in the class from the beginning of the session.
"Teachers are not in a job role but they shoulder the responsibility of grooming the lives of students," he said.
The Prime Minister emphasized the need to avoid mistakes due to the over-enthusiasm of the parents and urged them not to over-hype the exam day with new clothes, rituals or stationery.
He also advised the students not to keep preparing until the last moment, approach exams with a relaxed mind and not get rushed during the exam.
He expressed concern over the decline in the habit of writing and urged students to devote 50 per cent of their reading and study time to writing as it helps in better understanding as also sharpening their skills.
Laying thrust on decisiveness in choosing the career path, the Prime Minister urged students to increase their self-confidence.
Giving the example of cleanliness and his resolve behind, PM Modi underlined that 'Swachhata' is becoming a priority area in the nation. He said he had learnt that India's market in the art and culture sector has grown 250 times in the last 10 years.
"If we have the capability, we can liven up anything," PM Modi said urging students to not underestimate themselves.
He said the National Education Policy gives students flexibility in their academic choices.
The Prime Minister touched upon the trust deficit in families and asked the parents and teachers to tackle this serious issue.
He said that this deficit is not sudden but is a result of a long-drawn process and requires a deep self-analysis of everyone's conduct, be it teachers, parents or students.
Honest communication can reduce the chances of trust deficit, he said.
PM Modi said while students should be sincere and honest in their dealings, parents should also convey their confidence in their children instead of suspicion.
"The distance created by the trust deficit can push children into depression," he said, urging teachers to keep channels of communication open with the students and avoid favouritism. He asked for an experiment and requested families of friends to regularly meet and discuss positive things that can help children.
Noting that "excess of anything is bad," he stressed making effective use of technology and mobile phones through correct decision-making.
"Every parent faces this issue", the Prime Minister said pointing out the subject of privacy and secrecy. He stressed formulating a set of rules and regulations in the family and spoke of "no electronic gadgets during dinner" and creating no gadget zones in the house.
"In today's world, one cannot run away from technology," he said and suggested sharing the passcodes of mobile phones at home.
"Excess of everything is bad! Everything should have a standard and a limit. Using gadgets should be accompanied with time-tracking tools and applications. Being conscious about screen time is necessary. We should have the wisdom to use technology positively," he said.
Referring to poverty alleviation, the Prime Minister said when the poor themselves decide to remove poverty, it will go away.
"It is my responsibility to give them tools for dreaming such as a pucca house, toilet, education, Ayushman, piped water. Once he is unshackled of the daily indignities, he will be sure of the abolition of poverty," the Prime Minister said.
He said that one should have the wisdom to prioritize things and that this comes with experience and analyzing everything. He also said he considers his mistakes as lessons.
PM Modi said that celebrating sporting success and the right strategy, direction and leadership have resulted in a good medal haul at international events.
PPC is driven by PM Modi's efforts to bring together students, parents, teachers and society to foster an environment where each child's unique individuality is celebrated, encouraged and allowed to express itself full.