YUVA SENA chief Aaditya Thackeray on Saturday lashed out at the BJP government, Education Minister Vinod Tawde in particular, for alleged apathy towards the condition of education in the state, which he said was deteriorating. Raising concerns of students, he said the education minister should either fulfill students’ demands within a month or resign.
In a rally attended by more than 1,000 students and parents, Thackeray talked about problems faced by students and the ‘mess’ the education sector was in, ‘from KG to PG’.
The Yuva Sena protest comes at a time when Sena is scaling up attack against Tawde who had courted controversies in the past, over fake degree certificate, and failure to address teachers’ grievances leading to unrest. In a speech at the Islam Gymkhana, Marine Lines, Thackeray pointed out lapses in education from kindergarten to post-graduation. He said when the BJP came to power in 2014, there were huge expectations but the government has not been able to deliver them.
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“Though this government is cleaner and works better, there has been no improvement in education,” said Thackeray. He said he had met minister Tawde to apprise him of the concerns of students but the students’ demands are yet to be met.
Voicing concern of distressed parents, Thackeray demanded proper laws for admission to kindergartens to curb donations. He also demanded proper implementation of the High Court order limiting the maximum weight of schoolbags.
Thackeray came down on this year’s admission processes across courses and streams, and drew attention to the mess around medical, law and FYJC admissions. “Despite nine rounds of allocations for FYJC, several students are still left without seats,” said Thackeray adding that since 2013, it was known that NEET would be implemented to streamline medical admissions, yet the state government was underprepared.
Flashing photographs of a defunct swimming pool of the University of Mumbai’s sports complex, Thackeray highlighted the lack of proper infrastructure for students. “While the central government talks about Digital India, our classrooms are yet to be digitised,” said Thackeray.
The Yuva Sena chief called for a grievance redressal system for students. “We demand a helpline number, a WhatsApp number and an email id where students can report problems so they can be resolved within a timeframe,” said Thackeray. He demanded that the education minister resolve the issues within a month, or quit.
Among other speakers were communications head of the party Varun Sardesai and prominent student leaders Pradeep Sawant and Sainath Durge. While Sardesai raised issues relating to admissions, Durge talked about integrated coaching classes coaxing lakhs of rupees from parents.
Responding to the rally, Tawde said, “Any suggestion that is good for students is welcome.”