School Education Minister Varsha Gaikwad on Wednesday announced shutting down of the Maharashtra International Education Board (MIEB) started by the previous BJP-led government.
She was responding to a question raised through a calling attention motion by Shiv Sena MLC Vilas Potnis on the MIEB in the state Legislative Council. Potnis had sought details of the board, its functioning and training of teachers, among other things.
“There were lot of complaints about lack of transparency in selection of schools for their affiliations with the MIEB. Also, no concrete guidelines were issued for formulating the syllabus. So, taking into account all these issues, we have decided to shut down the MIEB in the interests of students,” Gaikwad told the legislative Council, despite opposition from the BJP.
The Board had been set up to provide interdisciplinary education of international standard in Marathi by former state education minister Vinod Tawde during the previous BJP government. On Wednesday, Tawde said the decision would hinder the growth of Matathi students in rural area. “While, on one hand, the state was planning to make Marathi compulsory till Class X, shutting an arrangement of providing international-level education to Marathi students, was a bad decision,” he said.
“The MIEB curriculum was created by the likes of scientists Dr Anil Kakodkar, Dr Vijay Bhatkar and Sonam Wangchuk. Does Varsha Gaikwad feel her intelligence is more than them?… Had Varsha Gaikwad visited schools imparting MIEB curriculum before making this announcement, she wouldn’t have taken this decision.” a statement issued by Tawde said.
A total of 81 schools had received affiliation of the Board, of which five were located in Mumbai. An official from the school education department said the state had so far spent around Rs 9 crore on various components of the project. In 2018-2019 academic year, 13 zilla parishad schools were given affiliation on a pilot basis.
Earlier, the state government had not given permission to the Board to start admissions for the upcoming academic year, raising concerns. As Gaikwad announced that the Board will be shut, parents whose students enrolled in schools affiliated to the Board raised concerns.
Parents of about 200 students of Swami Vivekanand School, Govandi, who were a part of the Board, expressed concern. “We are really upset with the sudden announcement. We invested money in upgrading the infrastructure and seeking affiliation. Our teachers had also invested money and some were even laid off. What makes the government think they can announce closure without introducing a mechanism in place of this? This will stain the credibility of our school and also raises question on the credibility of the government,” school principal Janaki Hari said.
At Holy Cross High School, Kurla, nearly 120 students are a part of the Board. Principal Norbert D’Souza told The Indian Express, “The news comes as a shock to us and we are disappointed. However, we have had a good experience with the curriculum and have learnt innovative methods of teaching. It won’t go waste.”
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