To provide international standard education to students in Marathi, their native language, a first-of-its-kind Maharashtra International Education Board came into being on Tuesday. Launched to commemorate the birth anniversary of former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, all schools affiliated to the board will be known as Bharat Ratna Atal Bihari Vajpayee International School.
As the first step, 13 schools from 13 districts were given affiliation from the board. The affiliated schools are from Buldhana, Washim, Osmanabad, Parbhani, Thane, Sindhudurg, Chandrapur, Gondia, Nandurbar, Nashik, Kolhapur, Pune and Satara. By next year, the board plans to increase the number of schools to 100.
Union Human Resource Development Minister Prakash Javadekar said that the initiative is an extension of Vajpayee’s Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, and will focus on inclusive education. “It is not an imported board but a board that can be exported,” he said.
The international syllabus will include knowledge of surrounding areas and the world outside. Education in these schools will be provided in Marathi medium, though there will be an emphasis on improving English language.
Maintaining that the department is working towards “operation digital board”, Javadekar said that in 15 lakh institutions, students would be taught in digital mode from Class IX to third-year in college in the next three years. The department also plans to introduce exams in Class V and VIII to promote continuous evaluation, he said.
Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis said: “With the formation of the board, we are entering into a new era. It is a true tribute to Vajpayee. The schools’ names will remain the same but the education pattern shall be named after Vajpayee.”
Maharashtra has two crore students from classes I to XII, said School Education Minister Vinod Tawde. “We need to nurture students to not just prepare for international courses but to also sustain and be successful,” he added.
“Through the new system, students will learn not just for marks but also develop qualities and life-skills… We have evolved from a Gurukul system, and the new board has included aspects of Sanskrit in its course,” said state Minister for Rural Development Pankaja Munde.
According to a government resolution dated October 14, 2016, 100 schools run by tribal development, social justice and school education departments would be affiliated to the new board. The criteria for providing affiliation included joint initiative by all stakeholders; number of students; infrastructure facilities, including a well-constructed building; facility to increase intake capacity; separate washrooms for girls and boys; Internet facilities; clean surroundings as well as facilities to use academic technology and ferrying students, among others.
Scientists Dr Raghunath Mashelkar, Dr Vijay Bhatkar and Dr Anil Kakodkar, education experts Sonam Wangchuk and Dr Swarup Sampat and calligrapher Achyut Palav, among others, are part of the Atal Bihari Vajpayee International School’s regulatory board.