State Agriculture Minister Dadasaheb Bhuse ordered a probe Tuesday after a private agriculture college in Amravati stamped pass certificates of first- and second-year BSc agriculture students with ‘Covid-19 promoted’.
In a letter to the director-general of Maharashtra Council of Agriculture Education and Research and vice-chancellors of agriculture universities, Bhuse said,“There were no directives from the state government to certify ‘Covid-19 promoted’ on the certificates issued to students. Who has taken the initiative and why?”
The matter, a senior officer in the Agriculture department said, came to light on Monday after the private college reportedly readied pass certificates for 242 of its students stamped with ‘Covid-19 promoted’. The certificates, expected to be distributed after July 15, triggered a huge furore after the BJP called the government “insensitive” towards students.
The “Covid-19 promoted” tag on certificates, students also claimed, would have an adverse impact on their career, making them seem less proficient and employable. The four state agriculture universities — Bala Sawant Konkan Agriculture University at Dhapoli, Mahatma Phule Agriculture University at Rahuri, Marathwada Agriculture University at Parbhani, and Dr Panjabrao Deshmukh Agriculture University at Akola — this year conducted exams only for the final-year BSc agriculture students. The students first- and second-year students of agricultural universities were to be promotedwithout any examination in view of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Taking serious cognizance of the issue, Bhuse on Tuesday sought a report in the matter within a week and urged the administration to “rectify their blunder”.
Criticising the government for its “insensitivity” towards students, BJP leader and former state education minister, Ashish Shelar, tweeted, “It has come to the fore that the marksheets of agriculture universities have ‘promoted Covid-19’ stamps. This is wrong and unjust to students.”
Founder president of Agriculture Graduate’s Association, Mahesh Kaduspatil, meanwhile, said, “Since the start, we had been demanding evaluation and promotion of students without the tag of passed due to Covid-19… This move is the doing of someone at the university level. Maharashtra Council of Agriculture Education and Research has assured us that no such directives have been given.”
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