Association members feel it is a small step that could show support to Indian soldiers on the border. "Students must be aware about problems the country is facing. Stationery, like pens, compass boxes and erasers are all made in China. Even if we are able to hurt the economic gains China makes through our country by a little, it will mean we are doing our bit," said Prashant Redij from the association. The association will print a circular and send the appeal to all schools. "It is the schools which must instill patriotism among students," he added.
Other principals felt the appeal may be followed by many schools had it come through channels of the education department. "Students need to be made aware and this must not be done through a knee-jerk reaction. The association could have appealed to schools through the education department. We have heard how Japanese students are told about not using American products from a very young age," said Fr Francis Swamy, joint secretary, Archdiocesan Board of Education (ABE), which governs over 150 schools in the city.
Teachers also feel the focus must remain on educating students in the right manner. "If you just tell students to stop using Chinese goods, they may not understand the problem. Teachers must talk about the global problem in the classroom and inform students about current affairs so that they have their facts right. Also, today the market is full of stationery that is made in China that finding alternatives will be difficult," said Vilas Parab, a teacher at Balmohan Vidyamandir, Dadar.
Experts feel that while it is good that principals are reacting, urging students not to buy Chinese products may not be the right approach. "China is being aggressive but coming down on trade like this is impractical. As a result of globalization, Chinese-made products are widely available the world over. But, students must definitely be made aware of the situation and this could be done by using available audio-visuals and gadgets. They must be given reasonable information," said Uttara Sahasrabuddhe, professor of international politics at University of Mumbai.