From February 19, it will be mandatory for colleges across Maharashtra to begin their work day with the recital of the national anthem, state Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant said at a press conference in Pune on Wednesday.
“We had taken this decision earlier but on the occasion of Shiv Jayanti on February 19, we have decided to make it mandatory for all colleges to start implementing it. A letter regarding the same will soon reach all colleges. Even if 50 per cent of the students recite the national anthem every day, that will be 15 lakh people reciting it daily, making Maharashtra the first state in the country to do so,” said Samant.
The minister was in Pune to attend various events, including a meeting with heads of educational institutions in the city.
The Maha Vikas Aghadi government has already made it mandatory for school students to read the Preamble of the Constitution during their morning assemblies, effective from January 26.
Earlier in the day, Samant also announced that soon, a Democracy Festival will be celebrated in colleges and universities.
“Good leaders with vision should be cultivated on university campuses, which is the main idea behind this initiative. We should be able to debate on what exactly is the Constitution of our country. A few people are trying to create confusion and do politics on the same but our democracy is the best in the world. So why shouldn’t our students study it? Hence, we have proposed Maharashtra to be the first in the country to organise a festival which celebrates democracy,” he said.
“Our country is considered one of best democratic nations in the world. Our students should know what being a democracy means, what the Constitution says and they should hold discussions on the same and even study democracy. To enable this, the Higher and Technical Education department has prepared a proposal. According to it, just like other festivals in universities and colleges, a Democracy Festival will be celebrated in colleges. It is waiting for the Governor’s approval and once it is done, a three to four-day Democracy Festival will be celebrated,” said the minister while attending the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the Modern College of Arts, Science and Commerce, Shivaji Nagar.
The state government will take up policy initiatives to ensure and enhance the safety of female students and employees on college campuses, state Higher and Technical Education Minister Uday Samant said in Pune on Wednesday.
The minister said that a committee is being set up, with Deputy Speaker Neelam Gorhe — also a women’s rights activist — as a member. Colleges will be asked to table a report on what steps are being taken to avoid sexual harassment on campus, how the guidelines issued by UGC are being followed till date and how cases have been handled so far. “Within three months, the report will be submitted by colleges to the committee, which will scrutinise the responses. Later, the committee will finalise what policy changes are needed,” he said.
Samant was attending a dialogue with the heads of various educational institutions in the city, where he discussed the challenges faced by public and private institutions.
He later addressed the press at the same event.
Gorhe, who was also present, said, “Not just sexual harassment, but the anti-ragging Act is already in place. However, the extent of implementation and whether it is effective needs to be studied. Colleges will be asked to submit a report on that as well to the committee,” she said.
Speaking about the Maharashtra Public Universities Act, 2016, which was passed by the previous government, he said that heads of educational institutions complained that certain provisions were proving troublesome. “We have decided to appoint an expert committee to study the law and suggest changes needed,” said Samant.
He also said that despite directives, tobacco was being sold near college campuses. He said stricter implementation of existing laws had to be ensured, and that the state is prepared for legal directives on the same.
Speaking about the problems faced by colleges in filling vacant posts of professors, he said, “Soon, we will be issuing directives on the same.”
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