MUMBAI: The Congress in Maharashtra on Sunday alleged that the AIMIM and BJP are two sides of the same coin, a day after AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi slammed the grand old party and the NCP at a rally in Mumbai for "failing" to implement a 5 per cent reservation for Muslims in the state. Senior Maharashtra Congress leader Naseem Khan on Sunday wondered why the Owaisi-led All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) remained "silent" on the Muslim quota issue when the BJP government was in power in Maharashtra from 2014 to 2019. Khan, who had served as a minister in the then Congress-NCP government till 2014, said the quota for Muslims in jobs and education had been upheld by the Bombay High Court but not implemented by the erstwhile Devendra Fadnavis government. "When Congress was protesting against the Fadnavis government's inaction on quota implementation, the AIMIM remained silent. The AIMIM and the BJP are two sides of the same coin," Khan alleged in a statement. He said two MLAs of AIMIM in Maharashtra never raised their voice in the Legislative Assembly when Congress demanded implementation of the Muslim quota. On the contrary, the AIMIM legislators always supported the Fadnavis government, he claimed. Addressing the rally at Chandivali in Mumbai, Owaisi had said Congress and NCP joined hands with Shiv Sena for power and forgot the assurance of implementing a 5 per cent quota in jobs and education for the Muslim community. Alleging that the AIMIM's political stance has always been supportive of BJP, Khan said the Owaisi-led party remembers the Muslim quota only during elections. "Now also when civic and local bodies polls are due in Maharashtra, AIMIM is remembering the quota issue," he alleged. Khan said Congress is committed to implementing the Muslim quota. "What Owaisi and AIMIM have done for Muslims?" Khan asked saying the Muslim community knows the real face of AIMIM. Owaisi had also asked Muslims to shun "political secularism" saying it has not helped the socially and educationally backward sections of the community in getting a quota in jobs and education. The NCP and Congress are partners in the Sena-headed Maha Vikas Aghadi government, which came to power in November 2019 after the Maharashtra assembly polls. The erstwhile Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra had provided 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in jobs and education in 2014. The Bombay HC quashed the Maratha quota but upheld the Muslim quota in education. Opposition alleges that between 2014 and 2019, the issue of implementing this quota for Muslims was allegedly not taken up by the then BJP-Shiv Sena government.
PUNE: The 119th graduation ceremony of the Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) will be held at 11am on December 13. Australian Consul-General Peter Truswell will be the chief guest of the ceremony. Minister of higher and technical education Uday Samant will be the guest of honour, while Maharashtra governor and SPPUâs Chancellor Bhagat Singh Koshyari will address the students. The event will be telecast on the universityâs website at http://webcast.unipune.ac.in.
PUNE: The state school education department will introduce a single textbook formula from 2022-23 onwards to reduce the weight of school bags carried by students every day. This will be introduced in Std I and will be implemented for all primary classes later. The four subjects taught in Std I, English, Marathi, maths and play and learn, have been integrated into a single textbook per four semesters. Hence, instead of carrying all four subject textbooks, the student needs to carry only the integrated textbook, part 1, 2, 3 or 4, as per the semester. âAt the moment, a Std I student, who is about six years of age, carries in his or her bag, at least 830gm worth of just textbooks, daily to his school. Add to it the weight of a water bottle, tiffin and notebooks, and the weight goes beyond 1kg. But with this method, the weight of textbooks reduces to 210 gm. On a pilot basis, the textbooks have been introduced in 488 model schools across the state, and the feedback has been good,â Vivek Gosavi, director of Balbharati (Maharashtra State Bureau of Textbook Production and Curriculum Research), said. Gosavi said that from the academic year 2022-23, the integrated bilingual textbook would be rolled out for Std I students in the entire state. âThis will then be done for Std II and so on. We will also incorporate the changes as per the New Education Policy, whenever it is implemented. We have received excellent feedback from teachers using this textbook. The integrated activities are also loved by the students,â he added. Rekha Varpalliwar, a zilla parishad school teacher from Chandrapur district, who joined in 1998 says this has been a great initiative, especially for children in remote areas, where schools are far and students have to walk long distances carrying the heavy bag. âThe weight of the bag has reduced. The activities mentioned in the book are also very helpful,â she added. Manjeeri Khambe, another zilla parishad school teacher from Raigad, said that each part of the book has a theme. âThe first part is âMe and My familyâ, followed by water, animals and finally the fourth part is transport and people who help us. Currently, we are teaching the second part. The activities in the book are very easy to perform that do not require anything that is not already available. The book is also written in such a way that the students can do everything themselves. The focus is on how to learn and also increasing the curiosity in children so that they become lifelong learners,â she said.
PUNE: The state school education department will introduce a single textbook formula from 2022-23 to reduce the weight of school bags carried by Std 1 students every day. The system will be implemented for all primary classes later. The four subjects taught in Std 1-English, Marathi, Maths and Play and Learn-have been integrated into one textbook per semester. Instead of carrying each subject textbook separately, a student needs to carry only the integrated textbook, be it part 1, 2, 3 or 4, as per the semester. "At the moment, a Std 1 student, who is about 6 years old, carries in his/her bag at least 830gm in textbooks. Add to it the weight of a water bottle, tiffin and notebooks, and the weight goes beyond 1kg. But with this method, the weight of textbooks reduces to 210gm. On a pilot basis, the books have been introduced in 488 model schools, and the feedback has been good," said Vivek Gosavi, director of Balbharati (state bureau of textbook production and curriculum research). Gosavi said from the academic year 2022-23, the integrated bilingual textbook would be rolled out for Std I students in the entire state. "This will then be done for Std II and so on. We will also incorporate the changes as per the New Education Policy, whenever it is implemented. We have received excellent feedback from teachers using this textbook. The integrated activities are also loved by the students," he added. Rekha Varpalliwar, a zilla parishad school teacher from Chandrapur district, says this has been a great initiative, especially for children in remote areas, where schools are far and students have to walk long distances lugging heavy bags. "The weight of the bag has reduced. The activities mentioned in the book are also very helpful," she added. Manjeeri Khambe, another zilla parishad school teacher from Raigad, said each part of the book has a theme. "The first part is 'Me and My family', followed by water, animals and, finally, the fourth part is transport and people who help us. Currently, we are teaching the second part. The activities are very easy and do not require anything that is not already available. The book is written in a way that the students can do everything themselves. The focus is on increasing curiosity in them so they become life-long learners," she said.
PUNE: The state cabinet will decide about the physical reopening of the remaining classes in schools in a meeting next week, deputy chief minister Ajit Pawar said in Pune on Friday after his review meeting with the district officials. âIn the upcoming cabinet meeting, the chief minister, education minister and everybody else will take the decision on school reopening. Last time, there were instructions on letting the local bodies decide on school reopening in their jurisdictions. However, there was confusion as some people would say yes while others would oppose it. To avoid this ambiguity, we have decided to look at it at the state level. A review of the situation will be taken and then a decision will be made,â said Pawar. About 20 NGOs working in the education sector had written to the education minister explaining the problems that students were facing due to non-reopening of schools. They urged her to reopen the schools with immediate effect, and let parents be the judge to decide whether they want to send their wards to school or not. Mahendra Ganpule, spokesperson of the Maharashtra School Headmastersâ Forum said that there is a need to reopen all schools physically. âThe primary students have been out of the system for very long. A statewide order to reopen schools should have been taken last month itself and the onus of taking a decision should not have been left to the local administration. No official in the city wants to take the decision to reopen because of the responsibility that comes with it. Hence, despite the GR to reopen from December 1, they kept deferring it at their level. Hence, we are hopeful that the state cabinet will now decide for all and reopen the schools immediately,â Ganpule said. In July, Covid free villages were allowed to reopen from std VIII to XII after which in October, schools in urban areas reopened for stds VIII to XII while schools in rural areas started for stds V to VII. However, there was no clarity about the remaining classes till a GR last month allowed reopening of all classes from December 1. While most of the rural areas reopened their remaining classes from Std I to IV, local bodies in many urban areas deferred the move for 10-15 days. In Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad, the decision to reopen was stayed till December 15. Late in November, the paediatric Covid task force had made it clear that vaccination is not a pre-requisite for reopening schools for primary classes. A letter was sent to the state education department putting the onus on the education department to make the decision. The state's adult Covid task force said the vaccination of students can be carried out after reopening the schools.
AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday asked Muslims to shun "political secularism" saying it has not helped the socially and educationally backward sections of the community in getting a quota in jobs and education. Addressing a rally in suburban Mumbai, Owaisi said he believes in secularism enshrined in Constitution."What did Muslims get out of secularism? We did not get a reservation in jobs and education. We didn't have participation in decision-making..no rights," the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president said, adding that the word secularism has harmed Muslims.In Maharashtra, only 22 per cent of Muslims take admission in primary schools while only 4.9 per cent of Muslims graduate. He said 83 per cent of Muslims in Maharashtra are landless. "Does the heart of Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena beat only for Marathas?" he questioned. The standard of living of Marathas is much higher compared to Muslims in Maharashtra, he claimed.Referring to the imposition of section 144 of CrPC in Mumbai, which was brought in to check the spread of Omicron variant of coronavirus, Owaisi questioned if prohibitory orders will remain in place when Rahul Gandhi visits the Maharashtra capital later this month. "That time it will not be Omircron but power.....," he said.The Hyderabad MP said Congress and NCP joined hands with Sena for power and forgot the assurance of implementing a 5 per cent quota in jobs and education for the Muslim community. "Congress and NCP blame AIMIM for cutting secular votes. Is Shiv Sena secular? When (Sena president and Maharashtra CM) Uddhav Thackeray says in the legislature that he is proud that Shiv Sainiks destroyed the Babri mosque then these two parties kept quiet," Owaisi said.The NCP and Congress are partners in the Sena-headed Maha Vikas Aghadi government. The erstwhile Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra had provided 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in jobs and education in 2014. The Bombay HC quashed the Maratha quota but upheld the Muslim quota in education. Opposition alleges that between 2014 and 2019, the issue of implementing this quota for Muslims was allegedly not taken up by the then BJP-Shiv Sena government.Speaking at the same rally, Aurangabad MP and Maharashtra AIMIM chief Imtiyaz Jaleel, who travelled to Mumbai by road from his constituency in Marathwada in 13 hours, alleged all attempts were made to stop him from reaching Mumbai. "Mumbai lo main aa gaya..." he told the charged audience. He thanked the police saying they were acting on orders from the top."They were doing their job and I am doing my job," Jaleel said. "We have to question the government on (the failure to implement) 5 per cent quota (for Muslims) and irregularities in Waqf land," he said. Jaleel alleged that prohibitory orders in Mumbai are an excuse to stop the AIMIM rally."Does the Omicron variant spread only on December 11 and 12? Will it go away on December 13?" he asked. Jaleel alleged that Muslims have been used as a "toy" for securing votes during elections. He said Muslims should learn from Marathas on the quota demand. Jaleel alleged that 93,000 acres of Waqf land have been misappropriated and that he has lodged nine FIRs so far as he is a member of the Waqf Board. "Despite the Bombay High Court upholding 5 per cent quota in education and jobs for Muslims, the decision hasn't been implemented. When Congress and NCP were in opposition, they would fight with BJP and Sena for implementing the quota for Muslims.But now despite being in power for two years, nothing has happened on the quota front," he said. Jaleel said heavy police deployment at Vashi while entering Mumbai made him think whether he was an MP or a terrorist. "I was stopped by a police officer asking me to remove the tricolour from my vehicle. I was told that I will not be allowed to proceed with the flag. I told the police that they can keep my vehicle. I will walk to Mumbai with the tricolour," he said.Jaleel said the country can't progress if Muslims are deprived of their rights.Check out DH's latest videos:
MUMBAI: AIMIM chief Asaduddin Owaisi on Saturday asked Muslims to shun "political secularism" saying it has not helped the socially and educationally backward sections of the community in getting a quota in jobs and education. Addressing a rally in suburban Mumbai, Owaisi said he believes in secularism enshrined in Constitution. "What did Muslims get out of secularism? We did not get a reservation in jobs and education. We didn't have participation in decision-making..no rights," the All India Majlis-E-Ittehadul Muslimeen (AIMIM) president said, adding that the word secularism has harmed Muslims. In Maharashtra, only 22 per cent of Muslims take admission in primary schools while only 4.9 per cent of Muslims graduate. He said 83 per cent of Muslims in Maharashtra are landless. "Does the heart of Congress, NCP and Shiv Sena beat only for Marathas?" he questioned. The standard of living of Marathas is much higher compared to Muslims in Maharashtra, he claimed. Referring to the imposition of section 144 of CrPC in Mumbai, which was brought in to check the spread of Omicron variant of coronavirus, Owaisi questioned if prohibitory orders will remain in place when Rahul Gandhi visits the Maharashtra capital later this month. "That time it will not be Omircron but power.....," he said. The Hyderabad MP said Congress and NCP joined hands with Sena for power and forgot the assurance of implementing a 5 per cent quota in jobs and education for the Muslim community. "Congress and NCP blame AIMIM for cutting secular votes. Is Shiv Sena secular? When (Sena president and Maharashtra CM) Uddhav Thackeray says in the legislature that he is proud that Shiv Sainiks destroyed the Babri mosque then these two parties kept quiet," Owaisi said. The NCP and Congress are partners in the Sena-headed Maha Vikas Aghadi government. The erstwhile Congress-NCP government in Maharashtra had provided 5 per cent reservation to Muslims in jobs and education in 2014. The Bombay HC quashed the Maratha quota but upheld the Muslim quota in education. Opposition alleges that between 2014 and 2019, the issue of implementing this quota for Muslims was allegedly not taken up by the then BJP-Shiv Sena government. Speaking at the same rally, Aurangabad MP and Maharashtra AIMIM chief Imtiyaz Jaleel, who travelled to Mumbai by road from his constituency in Marathwada in 13 hours, alleged all attempts were made to stop him from reaching Mumbai. "Mumbai lo main aa gaya..." he told the charged audience. He thanked the police saying they were acting on orders from the top. "They were doing their job and I am doing my job," Jaleel said. "We have to question the government on (the failure to implement) 5 per cent quota (for Muslims) and irregularities in Waqf land," he said. Jaleel alleged that prohibitory orders in Mumbai are an excuse to stop the AIMIM rally. "Is the Omicron variant spreads only on December 11 and 12? Will it go away on December 13?" he asked. Jaleel alleged that Muslims have been used as a "toy" for securing votes during elections. He said Muslims should learn from Marathas on the quota demand. Jaleel alleged that 93,000 acres of Waqf land have been misappropriated and that he has lodged nine FIRs so far as he is a member of the Waqf Board. "Despite the Bombay High Court upholding 5 per cent quota in education and jobs for Muslims, the decision hasn't been implemented. When Congress and NCP were in opposition, they would fight with BJP and Sena for implementing the quota for Muslims. But now despite being in power for two years, nothing has happened on the quota front," he said. Jaleel said heavy police deployment at Vashi while entering Mumbai made him think whether he was an MP or a terrorist. "I was stopped by a police officer asking me to remove the tricolour from my vehicle. I was told that I will not be allowed to proceed with the flag. I told the police that they can keep my vehicle. I will walk to Mumbai with the tricolour," he said. Jaleel said the country can't progress if Muslims are deprived of their rights.
PUNE: The state CET cell on Tuesday put off the admission process for the Bachelor of Planning (B.Planning) course offered by College of Engineering, Pune (CoEP), for the 2021-22 academic year after a host of complaints related to the entrance exam. The collegeâs website said the notification for admission to the first year of the course will be updated soon. Seats for the B.Planning course were offered on the basis of marks scored in the common entrance test for hotel management this year. Parents, students and educators said neither course has a common thread. The exam was conducted in August and a merit list was put out thereafter. Ravindra Jagtap, commissioner of MHT-CET cell, told TOI on Wednesday, âWe have not received any directions as yet from the Directorate of Technical Education about the ongoing process of B.Planning admission after we received a letter from Rajya Sabha MP Vinay Sahasrabuddhe. Once we get the orders, we will start implementing them.â Vinay Sahasrabuddhe told TOI, âMany students and parents expressed serious concerns about this unacceptable practice and I expressed my objection to all the competent authorities, both at the Centre and in the state. We have noticed that a lot of seats go vacant in the CoEPâs B.Planning course due to such ignorant practices. We have demanded that at least spot admissions be offered on the basis of JEE-Planning or MHT-CET to fill the vacant seats. Such an intervention will benefit CoEP and the town planning course aspirants,â the MP added. Anil Sahasrabuddhe said, âWe have just come across this issue and are looking into it. The state authorities are in charge of these examinations. We are now working on issuing some guidelines.â Wagh said the CET commissioner was the competent authority for any such decision. A student who has opted for the B.Planning course said, âI was not aware of the admission being made through hotel management CET as there was no proper public awareness exercise.â âSpot admissions can be opened to JEE-Planning & MHT-CET engineering students. Preference may be given to students with non-zero score in JEE-Planning for this year,â she said. CoEP offers the B.Planning course with 60 seats and conducting the admission based on the CET score obtained in the hotel management exam has befuddled the aspirants. The practice that has been in place for the last two years was recently questioned by Sahasrabuddhe, who recently wrote to Jagtap, state director of technical education Abhay Wagh and chairman of the All India Committee for Technical Education Anil Sahasrabuddhe.
Mumbai: The Maharashtra state cabinet on Wednesday approved the setting up of Maharashtra State Skill, Vocational Education and Training Board by merging the Maharashtra State Skill Development Board and Maharashtra State Vocational Training Council. The setting up of the new training board will make it possible to start skill education courses along with school education as per the provisions of the National Education Policy. TNN
PUNE: A clutch of complaints from parents and students to the higher and technical education minister to extend the deadline for admissions in the centralised admission process round 1 to engineering degree courses has led to the state Common Entrance Test (CET) cell revising the schedule. Students who have been allotted colleges in the CAP round I can now confirm their admissions by Friday. Moreover, the deadline to submit the caste proof certificate has been extended to December 21. Higher and technical education minister Uday Samantâs tweet read, âAs per the demand of engineering students and parents and as per the instructions from minister of tourism Aditya Thackeray, the deadline for admissions to engineering degree is being extended. The government has also extended the deadline for submission of original certificates of caste verification required for the centralised admission process for the academic year 2021-22 under the technical education department till the last date of the admission in the second round of the centralised process.â The admission process for CAP round 1 started on December 4 and as per the earlier schedule was supposed to end on December 7 at 5pm after which on December 8, the vacancy list for round 2 was supposed to be released. However, the new schedule declared by the State CET Cell, gave an extension till December 10, to confirm their admission for round 1. As per the new schedule, students can confirm their admission by Friday, 5 pm and the vacancy list for round 2, would be displayed on December 12. While many students were happy about the decision, there are also responses on social media about how the extension will further delay the start of the academic session for the 2021-22 batch. There will be only two centralised admission rounds after which the admissions will be at the college level. According to the CET cellâs notification, the college needs to display vacant seats on the institute website and give appropriate advertisements in the newspaper. Registered candidates must apply to individual colleges and the merit list is prepared and displayed by the college on the notice board as well as the website. The entire process of admission must be carried out by following government admission rules between December 22 and 29.
MUMBAI: In a comprehensive ruling, the GST Authority for Advance Ruling (GST-AAR), Maharashtra bench, has addressed a host of issues, typically faced by co-operative housing societies. In response to questions raised by Bhandup-based, Mahindra Splendour Co-operative Housing Society (CHS), the GST-AAR bench stated that if monthly charges collected from members (flat owners) exceeds Rs. 7,500 per month, goods and services tax (GST) will be levied and collected on the entire sum and not on the differential value which is in excess of this threshold. To illustrate, if maintenance charges are Rs 9,000 per month, GST will be applicable on this amount and not the differential of Rs 1,500. The AAR bench pointed out that the GST authorities have challenged a decision of the Madras High Court that upheld applicability of GST on the differential sum. A larger bench has issued a stay order and the matter is not yet settled. The AAR added that charges collected by the CHS on account of property tax, electricity charges and other statutory levies that form part of monthly maintenance bills would be excluded while calculating the threshold limit of Rs 7,500 per month. Rulings given by the AAR have a persuasive value and are taken into cognisance by authorities during assessments. However, it should be noted that smaller CHSâ with an annual turnover of Rs 20 lakh or less do not have to register and consequently do not have to comply with GST obligations. Mahindra Splendour CHS submitted to the AAR bench that the basic objective of collecting amounts towards sinking fund, building repair fund, education and election fund is to meet future or unplanned major expenditure. Such contributions are in the nature of a âdepositâ and are used for the specific purpose as prescribed in by-laws. Thus, GST should not apply at the time of collection. The AAR bench pointed out that amounts towards sinking and repair funds are collected as per percentage fixed in the CHSâs by-laws and in accordance with circulars issued by the Registrar of Co-operatives. If a sum is a deposit, it can be refunded. However, such funds are not refundable to members. Thus, GST would be triggered on collection and not in the future when it is utilised (say, for painting the building). Likewise, it held that education and election funds are also not a deposit and GST applies at the time of collection. This CHS was suppling water received from the Mumbai municipal corporation through an elaborate storage and pumping system. Further, it had a sewage treatment plant which supplied recycled water to all flats for use in toilet flushing. The AAR bench held that the notification 2/2017 which provides for a nil GST rate pertains to goods supplied and not services supplied. Mahindra Splendour is providing a âservice of supplying waterâ âmembers are not charged based on the quantity of water supplied. Thus, the notification is not applicable and water supply charges are subject to GST. In the absence of specific details, the AAR bench did not give a categorical reply. However, it pointed out that major repairs involving large expenditure extend the useful life of an equipment â for eg: replacement of a motor in a lift. In accounting, such major repairs are capitalised as assets and depreciation (write-off) over a period of time is available. Input tax credit will not be available against expenses that are capitalised, it explained.
PUNE: On their first day back in school on Monday, many students from Stds I to IV in rural Pune were greeted with flowers and decorated classrooms. Teachers said that it will be a big challenge to get the students back on track as many seem to have forgotten the basics such as the alphabet and numbers, but physical reopening will bridge the learning gap. Pruthviraj Kale, a ZP teacher, said that his school witnessed just over 50% attendance on day 1. âWe had decorated the entire school with balloons and flowers as if it was a birthday party. We had called our sarpanch to greet the students and offer a rose to each student. A local trust had sponsored some bags and books which were distributed among the students. Since only 50% came today, we were able to make one student sit on each bench. We will see how the attendance improves and then decide whether to call students on alternative days or to conduct classes in shifts,â said Kale. Ashok Chepte, a primary school teacher, said that while the school did not assess the children on Monday and instead used the day to distribute a picture-story book given by the State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT) and to interact with children, he realised that the primary school teachers would need to start from the basics. âThe students who will be in Std I are completely blank. Despite online classes, the condition of Std II students will also be similar. If the schools had reopened in June, by now, we could have brought them at par. But, students were happy to be back in school,â he said. Anil Gunjal, primary education officer of the Pune zilla parishad, said that the response was good across schools and is expected to increase over the week. âTeachers have been instructed to follow all Covid-19 safety norms strictly and also make students and parents aware of them,â Gunjal said.
MUMBAI: Physical schools will reopen for all classes in the state from Wednesday, even as the state began taking measures to tackle the new Omicron variant. Schools and parents are treading cautiously. The final decision on reopening rests with civic chiefs and collectors. In Mumbai, a decision on reopening is expected on Tuesday. The government circular issued on Monday following a cabinet meeting allows reopening classes 1-7 in cities and classes 1-4 in rural areas. Schools can bring in students in a staggered manner and attendance will continue to be voluntary. State school education minister Varsha Gaikwad said, âThe government is sensitive to the possibility of a third wave and no laxity in implementation of the standard operating procedure will be permitted.â Health minister Rajesh Tope said as no case of the newly detected variant has been detected in the state, there is no reason why schools should not reopen as planned. âAll the sectors which have been allowed to reopen will continue to function. Even schools have been allowed to reopen based on the go-ahead given by the pediatric task force and the health department,â said Tope. Existing healthy practices such as masks and social distancing will continue. Staff and school bus operators will have to be fully vaccinated. Schools will set up health clinics or tie up with the local health department for emergencies. Schools will be on for three to four hours without any recess. Cultural and sporting events will not be allowed. Schools should avoid science experiments for Class 1-4 students where possible or take small groups. In Mumbai, schools had got down to planning a staggered reopening last week. The initial enthusiasm of sending children to school after 19 months seemed to be waning following news of the southern African variant. âParents who had given their consent are doing a rethink. We too want to adopt a wait-and-watch policy for a few days after reopening,â said the principal of a school in Kurla. Attendance of Class 8-10 students that had picked up after the Diwali vacations starting November 22, is shifting to online classes, said teachers. âOur attendance was around 85% last week. On Monday, we had more students in virtual classes,â said a Sakinaka school teacher. Parents said confusion over Omicron may put a break on schools. âMy son is enjoying school but for the next few weeks we have asked him to attend online,â said a parent of a Class 10 student from Goregaon.
MUMBAI: Two fresh batches of tiny tots will walk into schools for the first time on December 1 as the state Cabinet on Thursday gave its nod to reopen all classes in the physical mode. Students admitted to Class 1 in 2020 and this year have been attending online classes only. With this, just nursery and kindergarten classes will remain in online-only mode. A final decision on reopening primary and secondary schools in the city will be taken by the municipal commissioner. Over 11 lakh students from classes 1 to 7 in the city have been attending online schools for 19 months. The existing standard operating procedure (SOP), including parental consent for physical presence in schools, will continue. The proposal to reopen all schools from Class 1 was put forward by the education department after consultations with the paediatric Covid-19 task force. Chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, who is recuperating after a cervical spine surgery, chaired the cabinet meeting online from the hospital on Thursday. State school education minister Varsha Gaikwad said schools, parents and the paediatric task force will be consulted for further fine-tuning of the SOP for younger children. âThese students will be returning to campus for the first time in nearly two years. We want them to feel safe and acclimatise to physical schooling. Primary section children are very young and it may be difficult to ensure that they wear a mask and keep physical distance at all times. Experts were of the opinion that children need to step into the normal world or else many will drop out of the education system. So we decided to open up schools,â she said. Education department officials said a decision on reopening pre-primary schools, anganwadis and daycare centres will be taken based on the response of primary studentsâ parents. BMC education officer Raju Tadvi said the proposal to reopen classes 1 to 7 will be placed before the civic body after the fresh government circular is released.The circular is expected in a day or two. Schools welcomed the decision but stressed on compulsory attendance. âIt will be difficult to teach small children in the online and offline mode simultaneously,â said Ulhas Wadodkar, principal, Suvidyalaya high school, Borivli (West). A group of parents that had petitioned the CM to start all classes said they welcome the decision.
PUNE: Primary schools across the state will start for in-person learning from December 1, the state cabinet announced on Thursday. Schools in urban areas have been functioning for standards VIII to XII, while those in rural areas had reopened for standards V to XII for several months. School education minister Varsha Gaikwad said that the decision was taken after a discussion with chief minister Uddhav Thackeray, the cabinet members and the paediatric task force. âThe state cabinet has decided to reopen schools from Std I to IV in rural areas and Std I to VII in urban areas from December 1. We are committed to the safe resumption of schools,â Gaikwad said in a tweet on Thursday evening. The minister, in her tweet also said that this is the third phase of school reopening. School education minister Varsha Gaikwad said that over the next six days, the emphasis will be on acclimatizing schools, parents and children towards a safe transition to physical classes. The department plans to hold consultations with school management committees and parents. Gaikwad will also meet the paediatric task force about the SOPs for younger children, some of whom may be attending physical classes for the first time. The paediatric task force on Wednesday had made it clear that vaccination is not a prerequisite for reopening schools for primary classes. As per the Unified District Information System for Education data of 2020-21, there are 1,34,85,879 students enrolled in primary schools from standards I to VII in the state. Vasant Kalpande, former director of education and an activist, said they have been seeking the reopening of all schools since August. âZilla parishads in Dhule, Sangli, Aurangabad and Ahmednagar had passed resolutions for reopening primary schools and they have not seen any alarming cases after the students returned. For rural schools, the decision is a good one as online access to education is a challenge,â he added. Keep options open Alok Mishra, a parent of a standard II student in a Navi Mumbai school, said, âI am fine with the online classes and my child is used to it now. I will wait and see before sending my child to school. Also, I cannot pick up and drop her and private school transport will be crowded. However, the decision to reopen is good for the rural parts or urban areas where access to online education is a problem.â Anubha Sahai, president of India Wide Parents Association, said that schools must not make it compulsory for students to attend the classes offline. âThere are many complaints from parents that the schools are making it compulsory for students to attend classes offline. There should be strict guidelines to schools to offer both online and offline classes. We understand that teachers find it hectic to teach in both modes. Hence, the government must come out with guidelines so that the teachers are not overworked,â she added. Initially online Rajendra Singh, president of Independent English Schools Association (IESA), said, âInitially, we will adopt the hybrid model of education. However, once we are able to reassure the parents and make students comfortable, we will make it offline. In our survey, we saw that students attending online classes are much behind those attending offline classes, especially in English, maths and science. Secondly, we see children in malls and every other public place. They can also attend school where it is safer.â
PUNE: Handwriting has been among the biggest casualties of schools going online, raising concerns among educators about how it will have a cascading effect on studentsâ learning, retention and taking examinations. The education board of the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) has decided to give daily exercises to students of standards VIII to XII on handwriting improvement. The exercise will be conducted on a pilot basis with 90 students and later be expanded to all PMC schools. Some private schools have also begun a similar exercise after realising that studentsâ handwriting and writing speed had decreased and with offline examinations likely for secondary students, the habit of good handwriting needed to be inculcated back among students. As the mid-term got over, the civic education board realised that the handwriting skills of students needed to be improved and so on an immediate basis, it would be implemented among a few students and later scaled up to other classes, education officer of the civic board, Shivaji Daundkar said. Daundkar said, âThe online education system has ruined the writing skills of the students. Even the examinations were conducted in MCQ format as a result of which the students have forgotten to write and also their handwriting has become very poor. Our workshop will focus on improving the handwriting and also enhance the capacity of writing for a long time.â There are chances that the board exams may also be conducted offline and so the students have to start practising from now onwards. âWe will be starting with board students in the next two weeks and later for students from standards VIII and IX,â Daumdkar said. The private schools in the city had also raised concerns over the writing skills of students a few months after the online education had begun. Writing by hand may seem outdated, but a new Norwegian study suggests that handwriting may be more beneficial than typing. A lot of senses are activated by pressing the pen on paper, seeing the letters one writes and hearing the sound you make while writing. These sense experiences create contact between different parts of the brain and open the brain up for learning. This makes students learn better and remember better, the study has said.
PUNE: The Savitribai Phule Pune University (SPPU) and the Pimpri Chinchwad Smart City Ltd have set up a training and innovation centre to help colleges enhance employability of their students. Skill courses like AutoCad, SAP, Linux, cloud computing and others along with soft skills in communication, critical thinking that will make students industry-ready are on offer. Vice-Chancellor Nitin Karmalkar said, âWe have created this platform to keep the students updated about latest knowledge required by the industry along with graduate education. The courses are going to be game changers for them. Principals need to sensitize students about these courses.â A meeting of principals and training and placement officers from various colleges in PCMC area was convened by the university on Saturday under the chairmanship of Karmalkar. N S Umarani, pro-vice-chancellor, and Apoorva Palkar, director of innovation, incubation and linkages at SPPU, were also present. More than 70 participants were present. Palkar said education remains the link between economic stability and employability. âLifelong learning is becoming a need of an hour with current changing market dynamics with multiple career shifts. Employers are looking for graduates with additional skills along with their degree,â she added. Industries in PCMC areas are looking for trained professionals. This initiative would bridge the gap between education and employability of graduates. It aims at creating employable youth, for global opportunities with industry connect.
Mufti Faiyaz Alam is a Qazi or judge at the All-India Muslim Pesonal Law Board (AIMPLB)-run Shariah court at Nagpada. Ever since he completed his religious education at the famous seminary Darul Uloom Deoband (UP) in 2006, Alam has been looking for an opportunity to enroll himself in a graduation course at a government-recognised university. His search ended last week as Ehtesaab, Samajwadi Party MLA Rais Shaikhled NGO helped him join theBA course at Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University (YCMOU). Alam is among 50 madrassa products, most ofthem working as low-paid imams at mosques or teachers at madrassas, who have been enrolled for graduation courses at YCMOU. They arenow in the mainstream education system and, postgraduation, their employability in the open job market will get enhanced. âEven if I donât join another profession, there is always an advantage in getting additional qualifications. It will help me become a more confident individual. Armed with a graduation degree from a recognized institution, I can face the world better,â said Alam, who wants to do a doctorate. âWhy madrassa products look at life only as imams or preachers? Why canât they get trained to enhance their employability and live comfortably?...,â said Shaikh.
PUNE: Over 40 lakh college students from 4,000 colleges across the state can train for free skill-based courses to be offered as part of an agreement between the higher and technical education department and IT major Infosys as part of its corporate social responsibility initiative. The courses will include computer programming, cloud computing, artificial intelligence, finance and several others. Minister of higher and technical education, Uday Samant, said that under the MoU, the students are set to benefit from 3,900 skill courses from different categories. Samant said, âAll these courses would be conducted online and available on the Springboard platform of the private company. They will be free and optional which students can pursue along with their regular degree courses.â The courses will be open to arts, science and commerce colleges from Nagpur and Technical College, Ratnagiri in the first phase. Samant said this agreement will benefit 1,600 technical colleges and 10 lakh technical students and 3,000 higher education colleges and 30 lakh students in state. All students who complete the course will receive a certificate. Samant said that Infosys will conduct a training of teachers and officials at its Mysuru base. âThese courses will help students increase their chances of employment. Students will be guided by industry experts so they will be job-ready once they complete the course. The platform also enables students to take an online exam of the course,â Samant said.
PUNE: The state paediatric task force has stressed on vigilance and precautions for in-person classes for Stds VIII to XII, amid Omicron concerns. The task force has insisted on following a set of standard procedures for systematic school closure if cases surface on their premises to avoid undue panic and knee-jerk reactions. âOther countries, even those where the Omicron variant has been detected, have not closed their schools neither is there a WHO advisory on it. School re-opening is not an irrevocable decision, and they can always be shut again if cases do show a rise,â Pramod Jog, the stateâs paediatric task force member and senior paediatrician, told TOI. All reported cases of Omicron infection in countries outside India have been mild with hardly anybody needing hospitalisation or even oxygen. Although the age-group affected is below 40 years, about half of the cases were in people who had not completed their vaccination, Jog said. School closure, as a precautionary measure, has been advised by the task force when the positive cases among students, teachers, non-teaching staff of a school go above 5 % of total student strength in 14-day period or 10 positive cases are detected on school premises in a 14-day period. "This closure norm remains unchanged against the backdrop of the concern over Omicron. However, extra precautions and vigilance are currently enough to keep the physical classes running," Jog said. The state education department reopened schools from Stds VIII to XII in Covid-free villages in rural areas on July 7, this year. From October 4, the schools were allowed to reopen from V to VIII in rural areas and VIII to XII in urban areas. The GR on November 29 had allowed reopening of all remaining classes from Stds I to IV in rural areas and Stds I to VII in urban areas across the state. But local government bodies have stayed the order and deferred the reopening in many places which includes, Pune, Mumbai, Aurangabad and Nashik. In Pune, the local authorities have put on hold the reopening of primary classes till December 15. The authorities cited the threat from Omicron for the postponement. Bhagwan Pandekar, a secondary mathematics teacher at Laxmanrao Apte Prashala, said that attendance has increased to 95% since the schools reopened for Stds VIII to XII in October. âThere is no fear among students about this variant. We have got no calls from parents till now," he said. Parents and students have realised the importance of offline classes and children are regularly attending the classes. Only those whose parents have gone out of the city are unable to attend. Reopening of schools was the best decision, Pandekar said. Mahesh Palkar, director of secondary and higher secondary education in Maharashtra, said that there were no cases of Covid-19 spread in any of the reopened secondary schools in the state. âThere are no cases of the virus among students as of now. Schools are taking all precautions.We do not have reports of isolated cases in the government schools till now," Palkar said.
MUMBAI: The Bharatiya Janata Party has accused the state government of crippling the education system. âThe Thackeray governmentâs move to shut schools and colleges in the state under the pretext of Covid-19 has now become evident. It was declared that schools will reopen from December 1 but implementation was left to the local self-government bodies thus making it evident that the government wanted to shift its burden,â said Keshav Upadhye, chief spokesperson BJP. He said for the last one year the government has shunned its responsibilities and not taken concrete decision regarding the education system.
Ahmedabad: Gujarat has fared poorly as compared to states like neighbouring Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh in the retention rate of school students in higher secondary classes. This was seen in the data shared by the Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan in response to a question in Lok Sabha by BJP MP Feroze Varun Gandhi, on November 29. Gujarat has a low retention rate of 40.82% in higher secondary education for the year 2019-20. Maharashtra and Uttar Pradesh have fared better with 62.69% and 42.09% respectively. Even other states like Karnataka (46.39%), Haryana (64.15%) and Himachal Pradesh (69.11%) have been better performers in this category. Gujarat has done slightly better than Rajasthan where the retention rate is 39.33%. In the case of primary education, the retention rate in Gujarat is 95.04% while for elementary education itâs 89.82% before further dropping to 65% at secondary level. Kerala and Chandigarh have seen 100% retention at higher secondary level. The Department of School Education and Literacy (DoSEL), ministry of education has developed the Unified District Information System for Education Plus (UDISE+) system to record data on indicators of school education provided by all the states and Union territories.
MUMBAI: Amid the pandemic, applications for B-schools in the state have shot up by almost 30 per cent this year. While last year around 43,000 candidates registered for the centralised admission process (CAP) after clearing the stateâs entrance test, the numbers have crossed 55,000 this year. The numbers are the highest in the last three academic years. Experts claim that several students may have deferred their MBA education last year, adding to the overall numbers this year. The stateâs CET cell received 68,282 applications this year during the registration process, of which over 55,000 candidates confirmed their applications. The choice-filling process is likely to start soon. Officials are expecting the increase in applications to translate into enrolment too. Last year, of the total 32,279 seats available under CAP, 33 per cent remained vacant after the admission process. Professor S Narayan Rao, head, Shailesh J Mehta School of Management, IIT-Bombay, said that a lot of students may have deferred their MBA education last year for different reasons. With things getting back to normal, many may want to return to complete their degree, he said. The numbers will have to be seen from the perspective of pre-pandemic years, he added. Lack of jobs in the market could also be pushing many graduates to complete their MBA, said another professor. Globally the volume of applications grew by 0.4 per cent, revealed the 2021 Application Trends Survey by Graduate Management Admission Council.
LUCKNOW: The central government on Tuesday lauded the Uttar Pradesh women and child welfare ministry for disposing of maximum number of applications for financial aid to children who lost their parents to Covid-19. In a review meeting conducted via video conferencing, secretary, Union ministry of women and child development (WCD), Indevar Pandey said UP was at the bottom of the list with just 21 approvals last Tuesday but made a giant leap by taking the total to 346 within a week. According to WCD officials, UP stood first in clearing maximum number of applications followed by Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh. Under the central governmentâs PM-CARES for Children Scheme, a Covid-19 orphan child will get a monthly stipend on turning 18 and Rs 10 lakh on reaching the age of 23, besides getting free education, health insurance and financial support for uniform, books, and notebooks. âWe have cleared 346 cases of Covid orphans who lost both their parents. Every document was scrutinized at various levels,â said director, WCD, Manoj Rai. Total 577 applications were received for PM-CARES aid across the state. After detailed scrutiny by CWCs and district magistrates of all 75 districts, 346 applications were approved while 23 cases are still waiting for clearance at CWC level. According to WCD, maximum applications were received from Lucknow (36) and Kanpur Nagar (27). At least 23 applications were cleared in Lucknow, 22 in Kanpur Nagar, 16 in Ghaziabad, 14 in Meerut, 13 in Prayagraj, 12 each in Aligarh and Barabanki, and 11 each in Faizabad and Gorakhpur. âOver 200 applications were rejected as the applicants were not eligible. PMCARES Scheme does not cover orphans who donât have proof of Covid-19 death. Certificates or proof of both the deceased parents are required for the central government aid,â the director said. According to WCD, an orphan who turned 19 but was 18 yearsâ old when his parents succumbed to coronavirus infection will also be eligible under the scheme if he/ she has documents to prove. âWe expect that figure of PM-CARES aid recipients will rise as there are many orphans who have turned 19 years but were below 18 when their parents succumbed. We have asked them to contact the district probation office to apply under the scheme,â said deputy director, WCD, Vijendra Singh Niranjan. Orphans who have lost both parents will receive financial aid from the state as well as Centre. The government will provide the monthly stipend of Rs 4,000 per child till he or she turns 18. The state will also fund their higher education and provide tablets to them when they appear for Class 10 Board examinations.
PUNE: After a poor response in applications for pre-matric scholarship for students in standards I to X, the state directorate of adult and minority education has relaxed the eligibility criteria of 50% to only pass marks. The directorate has also extended the date of application to November 30 and students can apply for this scholarship and take advantage in fee relaxation. Director of adult and minority education, Dinkar Temkar, said, âThe relaxation in the eligibility criteria will allow more students to take benefit of this scheme. We have now also extended the dates for application and now we are hoping that maximum students would benefit out of it.â The adult and minorities education department has reported that nearly 81,695 beneficiaries have not opted for the scholarship this year. Temkar said, âDue to the pandemic and online schooling many students moved to their home towns. So these students have changed their schools or their applications were not received as they moved to their home towns. But the relaxation in eligibility criteria will surely help in boosting the scheme.â After the students make an online application, it is scrutinised for eligibility at school, district and state-level authorities after which the scholarship is approved, added Temkar. Once the scholarship is approved the student, he/she has to apply for renewal each year through their schools. The government has set aside 30% scholarship for girls of each minority community which is transferable to male students of that community in case of non-availability of female students in that community. If the physical target of scholarship for a particular minority community in a state/UT is not utilized, it will be distributed among the same minority community in other states strictly in accordance with merit and without disturbing the national ratio for the community. Maintenance allowance will be provided to hostellers and day scholars. Scholarship will not be given to more than two students from a family. It is applicable for all scholarship schemes meant for minorities under this ministry taken together. Change in schools, migration and also benefit of other government scholarships has found few takers for the pre-matric scholarship scheme provided by the state directorate of adult and minority education. Till recently, about 81,000 scholarships were not applied to by the students this year. An amount of less than Rs 500 is transferred directly to the beneficiaryâs bank account once the student is eligible for the scholarship, but the change in school as a result of migration to native place has been the major cause for poor application. The scholarship has been introduced by the Union ministry of minority affairs to encourage parents from minority communities to send their children to school.
PUNE: A proposal has been sent by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education to the state government recommending offline examination. Chairman of the state board Sharad Gosavi said that the government will decide the mode of examination within a week. As for those students who have not received any marks in Std IX and XI, but were declared promoted as per the stateâs order, and were not able to fill up SSC and HSC exam forms, Gosavi said that the board has requested the Maharashtra State Council of Education Research and Training as well as Directorate of Secondary education to resolve the issue. âWe have sent a proposal for offline examination to the state board. Now, it is up to them to decide. We expect a reply this week, post which we will declare the date sheet for the board exams,â he said. There has also been a demand from some organisations on the waiver of the SSC and HSC examination fees. However, the state board said that they had not received any such letter. âWe have empathy for students who have lost their parents to Covid-19. But there can be many other students who come from extremely poor backgrounds. Hence, we cannot take a biased decision. If they send a letter, we will put it up to the higher authorities and seek directions,â a state board official said. Mahendra Ganpule, spokesperson of the headmastersâ forum of the state, said that the schools were unable to fill the examination forms of students who had been shown just âpromotedâ in Stds IX and XI. Gosavi, who acknowledged the problem, said that they are expecting a solution from SCERT and the directorate of secondary education within two days as the state board only governs examination for SSC and HSC and no other classes.
PUNE: A decision to reopen college hostels will be taken in the next eight days, higher and technical education minister Uday Samant said in Kolhapur on Thursday. A letter by Kirankumar Bondar, joint director of higher education, Pune division to the director of higher education has said that a review of all the hostels in Pune, Ahmednagar and Nashik was taken and it was seen that all college or university hostels are fit to reopen and the managements have also given their assent. âHostels in Pune division are all set to reopen as soon as the decision is made. There are four universities in Pune division that have 12 girlsâ and boysâ hostels each, and 77 affiliated colleges with hostels with a total capacity of 17,382 students,â Archana Borhade, administrative officer, joint directorate of higher education, Pune division, said. Reopening hostels is necessary because a major chunk of the students studying in Pune university come from outside the city and for them, staying at the hostel is the only viable option as it is cheaper than the private hostels or rooms. Also, since most hostels are either within the campus or nearby, the students also save time and money that they otherwise would have spent on commuting. Lastly, facilities like reading rooms, library and others are available on the campus which is easier for hostel students to access. Hence, the decision on hostels must be taken as soon as possible,â Kuldeep Ambekar, a law student and activist, said. Ambekar added that a letter to reopen hostels belonging to the social welfare department has also been submitted to the district social welfare office as many students belonging to reserved categories get free accommodation here which is a big support for their higher education. âThese students come from poor families and they cannot afford to pay huge rent and stay outside. Hence, social welfare hostels must reopen without any further delay. We will protest outside their office if this demand is not met,â he added. Colleges and universities have reopened but continue to provide lectures in both online and offline modes. Students have not returned to their educational institutions in full strength. Most are expected to come back in early December or when the second term starts.
PUNE: The higher and technical education will soon issue orders to reopen hostels in colleges and universities across Maharashtra state, bringing relief to outstation students. Department officials said hostel facilities are being inspected and a notification regarding their reopening will be issued soon. Colleges reopened in October but several outstation students have not been able to attend in-person classes as hostels remained closed. Joint director of the department of higher and technical education, Kirankumar Bondar, said hostels in colleges affiliated to Savitribai Phule Pune University in Pune district are ready for reopening. âMost hostels are operated by the management of the institutions. Some hostels are under the revenue department and institutions have been asked to take charge so that they can be reopened for students,â said Bondar. Many hostels were being used by the district administration during the pandemic as quarantine centres. Some of these hostels are still under the district administration. A student based in Solapur, Ashraf Baig, said he has not been able to return to Pune despite enrolling at a college hostel as it has not opened. âI have got both doses of the vaccine but cannot stay in private accommodation as it is unaffordable. Students had also written to the college authorities to open the hostel and promised that we would follow all precautionary measures. If the government allows hostels to reopen, it will be good for us,â said Baig.
PUNE: A 16-member state-level committee under education commissioner Vishal Solanki has been set up to discuss and recommend a policy for the education of minorities in the state. Experts from the communitiesand educators are expected to submit the report within three months. The government gives various grants and has implemented many schemes for students of minority communities and their educational institutes. An independent education policy for minority communities is necessary. The committee will look into the existing schemes and new ones to improve minority education and submit its recommendations, the government resolution released on Wednesday said. The resolution further said that the Supreme Court has passed four judgments explaining various clauses in the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009 which are not applicable to the minority institutions. The committee is expected to study this and other judgments regarding minority institutes and formulate administrative and educational policies related to schools, students and teachers in minority institutes. Markus Deshmukh, an advocate and also educational consultant for many minority schools, said, âTill now, there has not been any policy specifically for minority education. This has created some issues because there are ambiguities when it comes to implementing some Acts. Such a policy will help clear them. Secondly, there are many schemes available but implementation may be an issue because the educational department officers do not know them well. Their training is a must. Thirdly, there are areas in the education of minority communities where we can do better as a state. This will also be studied and a draft policy will be recommended.â In its report that was out in August, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR), sought the extension of the RTE Act, 2009, to include minority institutions. The child rights body had demanded that the states issue guidelines for minority schools to set aside a minimum percentage of students admitted from minority communities.
MUMBAI: The state on Friday set up an education technology forum for exchange of ideas on the use of technology in school education. State school education minister Varsha Gaikwad said that Maharashtra Education Technology Forum will have representatives from technology giants such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon. The forum will serve as a think-tank and independent advisory framework on technology-based interventions to enhance learning, assessment, planning and administration of schools.
Aurangabad: Experts and researchers pitched for 4% reservation in education for 50 marginalised castes from the Muslim community while quoting statistics from different reports. Experts of the Centre for Development Policy and Practice (CDPP), along with the Dua foundation, had gathered in Aurangabad on Thursday to highlight the need for reservation in education for the deprived sections of the Muslim community. During the meet, CDPP director and economist Amir Ullah Khan said that the PM’s dream of five trillion economy cannot be achieved by failing to bring women, who are over 49% of the population, and Muslims, who are 14% of the population, into the mainstream. He told TOI, “The data shows that Muslim representation is far below the acceptable level in the country. For positive GDP, merely doubling the production is not enough, there should be doubling of consumption by the citizens as well.” Speaking on the occasion, professor Venkatnarayana Motukurri showed reservations across the country and the background of each reservation. Tata Institute of Social Science’s prof Abdul Shaban, who joined the meeting from Paris, cited findings of different surveys by committees and commissions, and demanded implementation of the Mahmoodur Rehman Committee recommendations, including share of Muslim women in 33% reservation, minimum 8% reservation in state services as well as education, expansion of OBC list, inclusion of Dalit Muslims into scheduled caste. Aurangabad MP Imtiaz Jaleel said this is the first step towards bringing the community into the mainstream and contributing towards the overall development of the country. “To get what the Muslims deserve rightfully, we will not hesitate to take to the streets,” he said. Speaking on the socio-economic conditions of Muslims in Maharashtra, high court advocate Sagheer Khan said, “For similar offences, 47-57% Muslims, Dalits and scheduled tribes are failing to get bail, while the upper castes and influential people have bail rate of 97%.” While demanding substantive study on the issue, he said the disparity is either due to lack of resources or due to institutional bias. The experts also stated that various surveys and commissions have found that 83.2% Muslims in the state do not hold agricultural land, 56% of the Muslim population in Maharashtra does not hold any assets, while only 0.7% Muslim families have an annual income of over Rs 3.6 lakh per annum, and every third persone in prison is a Muslim.
PUNE: Smartphones in the hands of children aged 6-14 in rural Maharashtra have doubled in the past three years, but the increase in numbers does not necessarily translate to more access, the Annual Survey of Education Report 2021 released on Wednesday has pointed out. As per the data, the percentage of children with at least one smartphone increased from 42.3% in 2018 to 85.5% in 2021. But, of the 85.5% of children, only 27% said that they had access to a smartphone every time they wanted to study. The remaining 62.7% reported that they got access sometimes while the remaining 10.3% said that they never got the smartphone to study. Somraj Giradkar, Maharashtra state head for Pratham that prepares the ASER report, said, âA rough estimate here is that one out of ten children purchased smartphones during the lockdown. In most households, if there is only one phone, it is with the father. Hence, the maximum students (62.7%) have fallen in the category which gets access sometimes. The 27% of children that always have access comprises mostly older children. Parents feel they cannot entrust young children with a cellphone of their own. However, compared to the national average, Maharashtra is doing well.â National statistics show that only 67.6% of students have at least one smartphone in their home of which 26.1% of students have no access to it for their studies. The survey covered 990 villages in 33 districts of the state covering 4,242 households with 4,023 children. A total of 70.4% of parents supported their wards while studying which is also coupled with the fact that study material availability among children has increased from 80.8% last year to 89.8% this year. Mahendra Ganpule, state spokesperson of Maharashtra Headmastersâ Association said that more parents have got involved with their wardâs education during the lockdown than was previously observed. âDuring the lockdown, many school-related activities required parental guidance. Hence, even if the parents were illiterate or school dropouts, they still were helping students with the activities or at least making them do their work which was previously taken as solely the teacherâs job. Secondly, many parents in the rural areas or low-income groups saw wage cuts but they still saved money for internet recharges and such just so that their children could study. Some even cut down on their other expenses to make this happen. Hence, the role of parents during the lockdown in rural areas is commendable. This was also helped by the timely distribution of books and other learning materials both online and offline by the state,â he said.