Maharashtra School News

Mumbai: BJP-CM Eknath group’s Murji Patel will win by over 25,000 votes, says Ashish Shelar
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

MUMBAI: BJP’s Murji Patel filed his nomination for the Andheri East bypoll on Friday after a show of strength by his party and CM Eknath Shinde-led Balasahebanchi Shiv Sena, which is backing him. Friday was the last day for filing nomination for the November 3 bypoll. RPI (Athavale) is also backing Patel. BJP’s Mumbai unit president Ashish Shelar and Deepak Kesarkar of the Shinde faction joined the march to the nomination office at the Gundavali BMC school near Manjrekar wadi, Andheri (East). Union minister Narayan Rane and state BJP chief Chandrasekhar Bawankule made brief appearances while Rane’s son and Kankavli MLA Nitesh Rane joined the procession. MLC Pravin Darekar also put in an appearance. Shelar poured scorn on Shiv Sena (UBT), terming it a “radki sena (crying sena)”. “While in government, they cried in the name of the Centre, in opposition they cry in the name of the court and sometimes the Election Commission. If they lose the Andheri East elections, they will blame the Andheri residents,” he said. Shelar alleged that Thackeray Sena’s Anil Parab had to arrange for party workers from Bandra to Dahisar for its showof strength. “In our case, it is a flood of local residents. Murji Patel will win the election with a margin of over 25,000 votes. ” Patel, who was disqualified as corporator a few years ago for submitting a false caste certificate, said his victory was certain. Patel had finished as runner-up in the 2019 elections as an Independent with tacit BJP support against the BJP-Sena alliance candidate, Ramesh Latke. Pointing to Patel’s popularity, Kesarkar said women were addressing him as “Murji kaka” and local citizens had lined up to cheer him. Rutuja Latke’s resignation drama was nothing but an attempt to gain sympathy, he sneered.

Mumbai: BJP-CM Eknath group’s Murji Patel will win by over 25,000 votes, says Ashish Shelar
‘Time we talked of livelihoods, not religious issues… See the RSS chief… he also sees OBCs, Dalits drifting, need for an inclusive worldview’
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

SENIOR Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) leader Chhagan Bhujbal, who was recently denounced by the BJP after he questioned the rationale behind putting up portraits of Goddess Saraswati in schools, turns 75 today. The celebration will be marked by the first joint appearance on a stage by Shiv Sena leader Uddhav Thackeray and NCP supremo Sharad Pawar since the collapse of the MVA government, as well as other Opposition leaders like Farooq Abdullah. A prominent OBC leader, Bhujbal speaks about the need for consolidating OBC votes and the political crisis currently roiling the Shiv Sena, which he quit in the early ’90s. Excerpts:* Your recent statement on Saraswati portraits in schools, saying they would be better served by honouring leaders like Jyotirao Phule and B R Ambedkar, created a controversy. Do you still stand by that statement?What I said (in the meeting) is very different from how it was reported. I had said that we should put up photos of people like B R Ambedkar, Shahu Maharaj, Mahatma Phule and Karmaveer Bhaurao Patil in schools because they all worked on the ground to spread education among Bahujans, and avoid photos of those whom we have never seen. What’s wrong with this? Secondly, it was an assembly of Samata Parishad members…I was speaking indoors in front of my workers. How can that be turned into a controversy? I am neither against God nor against religion. But this was used to target me. Some people even performed a puja outside my house in Nashik. I did not object at all.* As one of the most powerful OBC leaders in Maharashtra, how do you see the future of OBC politics?OBC politics in this country is witnessing its strongest phase, and, in my understanding, the OBCs have started drifting away from the BJP and RSS. I remember how everything started revolving around religion when the Rath Yatra was organised across the country. Even today we see big leaders spending much of their time in temples and performing pujas while people are suffering due to high inflation. They (people) are also noticing it slowly. I tell them how even the cost of materials used in puja has risen. It is high time that the issues of livelihood, not just of religion, are brought to the fore. I see that process already underway. Just look at the actions and statements of people like Mohan Bhagwat (the RSS chief), which hint that they also realise that the OBCs and Dalits are shifting away from them and that they need to present a more inclusive worldview to the community.* Is there lack of leadership in the OBC community?Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself is an OBC… he avoids using that identity. I think a debate on the issue of leadership is of no use — there’s always a leader when required. Today, the community must ponder upon livelihood issues. Everything else will follow.* Have you decided to revive the Mahatma Phule Samata Parishad, which seemed dormant for the past few years?The Covid lockdowns forced everyone to slow down but we continued to work silently on the organisation, not just in Maharashtra but across the country. The network that I had established in different states after my first rally in Bihar and then in Delhi, exists even today. We continue to work on different issues… silently, away from the limelight and the media. The media does not give us importance because of lack of sensationalism. My journey with the Parishad will continue, and I am sure it will grow in the years to come.* You were put behind bars during the BJP’s rule in Maharashtra. Do you think politics in the state has changed over the years?I was sent to prison because of political enmity, nothing else. Despite that, I have good relations with everyone, including the top bosses of the BJP. When (Uddhav) Thackeray was in power, I met with Amit Shah and Narendra Modi at a function in Pune. Modi asked me how I was, and I thanked him for his blessings. ‘My blessings? You don’t want my blessings,’ he said with a smile. Even today, both (Eknath) Shinde and (Devendra) Fadnavis are good to me. Yes, politics has changed but ultimately one needs to adapt to new styles of functioning.* Do you think the Thackerays face political extinction after the split in the party?Quite the contrary. The popularity of the Thackerays has increased manifold. I am experiencing it firsthand in my home district Nashik. People did not like what happened. In the past, there was a split in the Congress.What happened then? The faction led by Indira Gandhi survived and grew. It will be exactly the same here too. The Shiv Sena led by Uddhav Thackeray is here to stay and grow. The BJP is going to suffer losses in the election because of the Eknath Shinde-led faction.* Why do you think so?If elections are announced today, will they (the Shinde-led camp) be satisfied with 40 seats only? They will demand at least double of that, and the MVA is going to gain from it. It is us against whom the Shinde group will fight, and we have an advantage there. The BJP will find itself on the losing side.* The new election symbol of Uddhav Thackeray’s party has aconnection with you.When I was in the Shiv Sena, the party had no dedicated symbol. In the 1985 Assembly elections, I contested from the Mazgaon constituency and my symbol was the mashaal (flaming torch). It was widely known to all and was easy to popularise. We didn’t have funds for campaigning then, so we used to paint the symbol on walls. It was easy to draw. I won the election as the only Sena candidate in the Assembly.The symbol was later used during the Mumbai municipal corporation poll and we won the highest number of seats. I believe that Uddhav Thackeray’s Sena too will chart a new path of success through this symbol.* A raft of opposition leaders will be present at your 75th birthday celebrations in Mumbai. Are you sending a political message through these grand celebrations?I always celebrate my birthday amongst the people and workers of my party. This being the 75th birthday, leaders like Praful Patel, Supriya Sule and Sameer Bhujbal decided to organise it on a grand scale. They have invited Ashok Gehlot, Farooq Abdullah, Uddhav Thackeray and Sharad Pawar, among others. Since Thackeray was invited, it was inappropriate to call Chief Minister Eknath Shinde. We had sent an invitation to Devendra Fadnavis as well, but he wanted to avoid controversy and hence declined. As far as sending out a political message is concerned, the presence of Pawar and Thackeray at the event will accomplish that.* How do you see your political journey so far? Will there be a change in the way you do politics after you turn 75?My party is strong and growing in Maharashtra. From the municipal corporation to Lok Sabha, we will target every election. As far as I am concerned, I am like a scattered seed that grows anywhere, in any climate and against all odds. I will continue to do so.

‘Time we talked of livelihoods, not religious issues… See the RSS chief… he also sees OBCs, Dalits drifting, need for an inclusive worldview’
Isudan Gadhvi: ‘AAP’s not a third party in Gujarat, but the party in Oppn… Cong never had a vote bank here’
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

A former TV journalist, Isudan Gadhvi, 40, is the national joint general secretary of Aam Aadmi Party. He speaks on BJP’s efforts to “divert” people from real issues, the Congress’s decline, and AAP’s silence on issues like the Kheda flogging. Excerpts:The BJP has attacked AAP Gujarat president Gopal Italia over comments he made regarding Prime Minister Narendra Modi and women attending religious events in the past.Gadhvi: The videos are not the issue. They want to dig out old videos, not address the problem of inflation… say instead, ‘Look at Italia’s video and vote for us’. If videos had been the issue… many have used offensive language, Hardik Patel has abused so many times, even (BJP state vice-president) Gordhan Zadaphia has… They are troubling Italia because he is a Patidar, and given the Patidar agitation, they hate Patidars… Italia is no bootlegger, he was not involved in any corruption.I have heard that the BJP even made CDs on Hardik Patel, but people were not bothered… They have bought over everyone, they have silenced Hardik Patel, Gordhan Zadaphia. Italia is the only one fighting the BJP, and all the Patidars are with him. People have stopped supporting Hardik because he joined the BJP… The people of Gujarat are angry with this act of the BJP… I have heard that when Italia goes to the National Commission for Women (due to the complaint against him based on a video), the Patel community will take out rallies in his support.The party has been focusing on tribal districts. What are the issues you have identified in these areas?Gadhvi: We are here for ‘vyavsay-lakshya rajneeti (occupation-oriented politics)’, for the old, unemployed youth, poor, farmers, Adivasis. When elected to power, we will implement the Panchayat Extension to Scheduled Areas (PESA) Act, empower gram sabhas. The Adivasi issues of jal (water), zameen (land), jungle (forest) will be dealt with. We will build good schools and mohalla clinics. In the Tribal Advisory Committee, the chairperson is the Chief Minister, a non-Adivasi, how can he deal with an Adivasi issue?… Why is an Adivasi not able to grow? Because there are no good schools. Such a student cannot compete with a student studying in a city like Ahmedabad. He can’t even reach the merit to avail the reservation entitled for them… We will first work on these basic things… then on the complex issues.Why did the AAP alliance with the Bharatiya Tribal Party break?Gadhvi: They broke up with us. It had nothing to with us… Many good BTP leaders have started joining AAP.Can there be an alliance with them in the future?Gadhvi: Yes… we never broke up with them.Recently, posters came up across Gujarat towns projecting AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal as ‘anti-Hindu’. Are there special challenges to fighting PM Narendra Modi in his home state?Gadhvi: People are bored with all this… They put up the posters in such a hurry, they should have worked the same way on the pandemic, the paper leaks, against inflation, corruption. Whatever the BJP is doing, is upsetting the people, it’s backfiring. Kejriwal never said those words (on the posters). They are demeaning gods in the name of Kejriwal… Ye rakshas vritti hai, Ravan bhi aise hi karte they, Kansa bhi aise hi karte they, aur ye BJP bhi aise hi karti hai (These show their demonic instincts. Ravan would do the same, as did Kansa, and now the BJP).But isn’t AAP also playing the religion card with promises like taking pilgrims to Ayodhya, and Kejriwal comparing himself to Lord Krishna fighting Kansa?Gadhvi: Every child wants their parents to be able to go on a pilgrimage, but some are not able to afford it. So as soon as the Ayodhya temple is constructed and AAP forms a government in Gujarat, it will make arrangements for any senior citizen who wants to visit it. Funds can be easily arranged, from confiscating the property of any BJP person.BJP leaders have also been attacking AAP over the ticket it once gave to Medha Patkar, who had led the agitation against the Narmada dam. Do you think this will backfire?Gadhvi: In 2016, the BJP was with (PDP leader in Kashmir) Mufti Sayeed, with a terrorist. We don’t know who Medha Patkar is… There is no Medha Patkar in our party. If she is not in our party, why should we comment on it?… Anyone who is anti-Gujarat should be removed, even (BJP state chief) C R Paatil. I don’t know what happened at that time… This is like accusing the BJP of declaring Sonia Gandhi as the next presidential candidate.Why has the party refrained from commenting on the recent communal incidents, including the Kheda flogging? Or on the remission of convicts in the Bilkis Bano case?Gadhvi: The focus should be on what can be given to the people of Gujarat – good law and order, electricity, good education, etc. After Narendra Modi left, no one in the BJP is capable of running a government. We should free Gujarat from the BJP, Gujarat is not safe… Kanoon vyavastha BJP ke chalane ki bas ki baat hi nahin hai, bahut budhe ho gaye hain (Maintaining law and order is no longer possible for the BJP, they have grown too old)… The law and order situation in Gujarat is worse than in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.Why are there no minority leaders in your party?Gadhvi: We do not get into that type of politics. We only do kaam ki rajneeti (politics of getting the work done). Every person of every community should be safe, get good education, employment, electricity….Given Gujarat’s electoral history, do you see room for a third party? Why and how do you see AAP fitting into that space?Gadhvi: Ours is not a third party, but a party in opposition. The Congress never had any vote bank. As soon as AAP entered Gujarat, many joined AAP. A third party only enters a state when either of the two existing parties is weak. Take any example, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal. Earlier, it was different, with veterans like Keshu Bapa (the late CM Keshubhai Patel), they were (the opposition) from within. The Congress is finished here, especially after the 2021 panchayat elections…There are two types of voters in Gujarat, pro-BJP and anti-BJP. AAP will form a government with absolute majority… The Congress is gone, and from BJP, who will want C R Paatil to be a Chief Minister? He has an anti-Gujarat mindset.What was your vote share in the 2021 local body elections?Gadhvi: It was 19% in Rajkot, 28% in Surat and 20% in Ahmedabad. This, when we did not have a major campaign or rally by Kejriwal or any big party leader. In Gujarat, only one who wins urban-city seats can form a government. There are 66 urban seats in Gujarat, where the BJP has been winning because it was contesting against the Congress. The BJP is not loved by the people here, it is just that there is a weak opposition. If we have elections today, AAP will form a government with absolute majority.How do you see your journey in AAP?Gadhvi: I wanted to work for the people, so I left my job as a journalist… I was approached by all the three – the BJP, Congress and AAP. Then, one day Arvindji invited me to meet him… I joined AAP so that I can work on my own for the people. I am satisfied with the work I am doing in AAP. There are no differences in the party. I was impressed by Kejriwal’s work in Delhi.What are the planks that elections in Gujarat are fought on, according to you?Gadhvi: The major issue is law and order. Everyone should feel safe in Gujarat. Previously, there was no major issue. Elections were fought on communal lines, the BJP would set the narrative, the Congress fell for the trap, the BJP used to win. This is the first time the issues are education and health. For the first time, the issue of education is being discussed, and Amit Shah went to a school for the first time. Today, Narendra Modi, being a Prime Minister, is talking about health… about benefits from the Ayushman card.Your party is the main opposition in the Surat Municipal Corporation, its toehold in Gujarat, but it has not made a noise about any issues so far…Gadhvi: Because we are in the opposition, there has been relief in bus fares. We stalled the sale of a corporation-owned plot worth Rs 400 crore to a builder, we fought for building good schools, good roads, stopped corruption in tax, ration shops, and many such things.

Isudan Gadhvi: ‘AAP’s not a third party in Gujarat, but the party in Oppn… Cong never had a vote bank here’
Pune Science Weekly: How iRISE is helping improve STEM teaching in Maharashtra, Bihar
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

In a year, over 700 secondary school teachers from Maharashtra and Bihar have nearly mastered the inquiry- and activity-based teaching techniques that they will now implement during their science and mathematics classes. This is all thanks to a team of 12-15 teacher-trainers at iRISE (Inspiring India in Research, Innovation and STEM Education) in Pune that is on a mission to improve the quality of classroom teaching in schools, especially in subjects related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).Implemented by the Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Pune, iRISE is a collaboration and jointly funded programme by the Department of Science and Technology, the British Council, the Royal Society of Chemistry, Tata Trusts, Tata Technologies and IISER Pune.Along with teacher development, the three-year programme comprises targeted interventions for early career STEM researchers and those aspiring for leadership roles and facilitates interactions with industry experts.“We believe that exposing teachers to diverse strategies empowers and helps them use the appropriate techniques for their class,” said Professor Harinath Chakrapani, iRISE project investigator.Often, under-trained school teachers, a lack of avenues for teachers to stay skilled, a redundant syllabus and limited modes to engage classes contribute to poor teaching-learning experiences at schools. This, in turn, affects the student’s overall understanding of subjects and directly impacts higher education in STEM-related subjects.The teacher development programme of iRISE aims to address this gap using resources built on activity-based and inquiry-based strategies. “This is not widely used in classrooms as teachers still rely primarily on chalk-board strategy,” added Chakrapani.Through these strategies, the iRISE team aims to develop students’ critical thinking, hone scientific temperament and required competency skills – all through training their school teachers first.Initially, the programme is being rolled out in Maharashtra and Bihar.The iRISE team has completed the first phase of training 521 and 262 teachers in Maharashtra and Bihar, respectively, now known as Innovation Champions (ICs). These ICs are then expected to trickle down their training lessons to other fellow teachers, who when trained, will be identified as Cascade Teachers (CT).Since its launch in October 2021, the iRISE team has, so far, interacted with 3,925 students and 72 teachers during their visits to 24 schools in Maharashtra. “In Maharashtra, when the trained teachers went back and started training their fellow teachers, what we understood is that even they required support to boost their confidence,” said Sourabh Dube, co-project investigator, iRISE.Over the past one year, the Pune-based educators have also understood the need to bring more female teachers into their programmes. “One challenging aspect is maintaining gender parity among teachers. We may plan women-only workshops in the future as well,” Chakrapani, who is a chemistry professor at IISER, Pune, said.The iRISE teams interact with teachers and students and take stock of the student-teacher needs while designing training modules, content and other activities. “Recently, our team travelled to Nandurbar district in Maharashtra. We are planning several workshops in the Marathwada region as well. We have at least one more phase II workshop planned and this shall address differences in geographical reach, if any, within the state,” added Chakrapani.The ultimate goal of the teacher training is to change the learning and thinking ways of 4.5 lakh students when the scheme will be expanded across Maharashtra, Bihar and two other states.Phase II sessions for teachers in Bihar are being planned as the Covid-19 pandemic restricted the team to Maharashtra during the past one year.On working to restore the learning affected by the global pandemic, Chakrapani said, “Learning, in most areas which had no internet connection, was severely affected by the pandemic. More interventions need to be planned for children who have lost nearly one or two years of school.”During the coming months, iRISE will also focus on interacting with early career researchers, a process that began last month.Recently, iRISE collaborated with CSIR-National Chemical Laboratory (NCL), Pune, and conducted two workshops for doctoral students.Additionally, thought leadership forums themed on sustainability and antimicrobial resistance are currently underway and research papers on these topics are expected to be published next year. An interaction with industry expert Dr Naushad Forbes is also being planned early next year in Pune.

Pune Science Weekly: How iRISE is helping improve STEM teaching in Maharashtra, Bihar
After coach dies in road accident on way to see him fight, Nikhil Dubey now wants to win National Games gold for him
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

After winning his quarterfinal bout at the 36th National Games on Monday, Maharashtra boxer Nikhil Dubey rushed back to dial his long-time Mumbai-based coach Dhananjay Tiwari. Excited to watch him in the semifinal bout, Tiwari prepared himself for a bike ride from Mumbai to Gandhinagar, but fate had something else written for the coach.Tiwary succumbed to a fatal road accident by the time Nikhil won the 75kg semifinal against Services boxer Sumit Kundu.“He met with an accident on the way. It was his dream that somehow I win my bout today and fight for the gold medal. His name was Dhananjay Tiwary,” an emotional Nikhil said after his bout.“I spoke to him yesterday. I told him I have a bout with Sumit (Kundu). He told me he would be coming. He said he knew I had the ability to beat him and win the gold. He said he would come for the bout. He was coming for the bout.”“It was a big shock for me (his death). At one point, I was thinking about how could I fight. But that’s what he wanted and he hoped for from me so I had to fight. It’s very important to win gold over here,” Nikhil said.After the National Games, Nikhil will head straight to Mumbai to attend the funeral of his late coach.“He used to love driving. He had an Enfield and he routinely travelled long distances on it. He’d travelled to Goa many times in the past. He was in the third lane and suddenly a tractor crossed from the first lane to the third lane,” he said while elaborating the details of the fateful incident.For the past eight years, Nikhil has not only been mentored by Dhananjay at his club but also been supportive of his finances as his family’s condition wasn’t very strong. “He was my senior when I started. He supported me a lot not just in the ring but also in my life because my family’s condition wasn’t very strong. He has been with me for 8 years. I train in Mumbai’s West Malad alongside sir. Dhananjay boxing club. He would have been 32 years old,” Nikhil said while recalling his association with his coach.Nikhil’s first tryst with the sport began in school when his teacher Nilesh Sharma handed him a pair of gloves and encouraged him to join the SAI academy, where his association with Dhananjay started.“When I was in school, we had a sports day, where they would introduce us to other sports. One day they put gloves on us and suggested we try boxing. Our sports teacher Nilesh Sharma told us to go to SAI if we wanted to learn more,” he said.“My first memory of Dhananjay sir was when I was on the ground for the first time, He had come from training. He asked if I would be able to be a boxer. I said sure I will. He said what will you achieve as a boxer. I said I’ll beat anyone in front of me.“He said,”Are you sure? I said I would. Even if I have to. I would have been around 12 years then,” he said recalling his first meeting with his coach.It isn’t the first instance that the 22-year-old has battled with destiny. He lost his father Premnath Dubey in the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic and is now being supported by his brothers (Shaklesh Dubey, Abhishek and Deepak Dubey).“My father died in the first wave of the Covid. At that time, everything was all over the place. My brothers work in the insurance field and they have been a big support,” he said.Nikhil, who underwent an ACL surgery in 2020, was out of the game for a good couple of years. On his return to the ring, he lost to Sumit in the semifinals of the national championships and wanted to avenge the loss on Tuesday.“I had an ACL surgery in 2019 so I was taking rest for 2 years. I only returned to the ring in 2021 where I played the senior nationals. I lost in the semifinals to Sumit Kundu. This time bhaiyya told me that you deserve the gold,” he said.

After coach dies in road accident on way to see him fight, Nikhil Dubey now wants to win National Games gold for him
National Coming Out Day: Want to be identified as a human being first, says transgender activist Gauri Sawant
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Written by Tejas NavaleThe society should first accept transgender persons as human beings, setting aside all differences, in order to ensure that they are able to express themselves fully, Gauri Sawant, transgender activist and a founder trustee of Sai Savli Foundation Trust, said on Tuesday.“We are as human as you. We have always been denied the opportunity and rights that we deserve because our gender identity does not correspond with the patriarchal society’s mindset and convenience,” Sawant said while addressing a gathering during a panel discussion organised by Shankarrao Chavan Law College on the occasion of National Coming Out Day.The discussion also saw participation by Chitra Palekar, a theatre veteran, author, and co-founder of Sweekar – The Rainbow Parents. The theme of the event was “Shades of love: Embracing diversity and celebrating inclusion”.From talking about misconceptions to the need to introduce curriculum on gender identity in school textbooks for students to her fight to get transgender people their basic rights, Sawant expressed herself at length on various issues. She also brought up the issue of Right to Property for transgender persons. “Unlike you, who got freedom 75 years ago, we only became partially free after Section 377 was removed from the IPC (Indian Penal Code),” Sawant said while addressing the panel. “So, it is your responsibility to usher in inclusivity and make us feel free to express our identity clearly,” she added.On government schemes for transgender persons, she said, “Though a lot of projects are announced for transgender persons, they don’t reach the people who are really entitled to them. There is no coherence between the policymakers and the beneficiaries of the schemes.” She added: “Being president of the Maharashtra Transgender Welfare Association, only one meeting was held in the last two years.”Palekar also shared her experience as a “proud mother” of a daughter who is a lesbian and said it was the need of the hour to accept gender diversity, “which is a very natural phenomenon”. She also expressed her disappointment with how people of LGBTQIA+ sections get treated as criminals despite the law being on their side now.

National Coming Out Day: Want to be identified as a human being first, says transgender activist Gauri Sawant
How a small Tamil Dalit party found its space in KCR’s national blueprint
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

THE DAY the Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) passed a unanimous resolution to change the name of the party to Bharat Rashtra Samithi (BRS), present on the occasion at the party headquarters in Hyderabad was Dalit leader Thol. Thirumavalavan, chief of the Viduthalai Chiruthaigal Katchi (VCK), a key ally of the DMK in Tamil Nadu. The following day, Thirumavalavan was again present when Telangana Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao (KCR) announced his plan to convene a Dalit conclave in Hyderabad.Thirumavalavan’s presence at the launch of the BRS aroused much curiosity – how was the VCK, one of the smaller allies of the DMK, relevant to KCR’s national pitch?Though the VCK, which in the 2016 Assembly elections was part of a third front of Left-leaning parties that ended up breaking the DMK’s votes and ensured its defeat, Thirumavalavan came back into the DMK fold in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. The VCK, now one of the preferred allies of DMK chief and Chief Minister M K Stalin, not only won two Lok Sabha seats in 2019 but has four MLAs in the Assembly. The two MP seats that Thirumavalavan and his confidant D Ravikumar, writer and senior VCK leader, won significantly altered the VCK’s prospects.Thirumavalavan also continues to be a strident opponent of the BJP, cautioning the DMK whenever they are seen as going soft on the party.Talking to The Indian Express, Ravikumar said they had several reasons to accept KCR’s invitation to the Dalit conclave.“Mainly, we wanted to honour the Telangana government’s initiatives. They spend roughly 13 per cent of their budget on Dalit welfare, which is five times more than the national average. They introduced a number of programmes, including Dalit Bandhu, which grants 10 per cent of government contracts to Dalits and offer Rs 10 lakh to Dalit businesses. We consider each of these to be game-changing policies,” said Ravikumar, adding that the state also turned all Dalit schools into “special schools that are currently the best in the state.“Ten years ago, I requested a mere 1 per cent reservation for Dalits in government contracts in Tamil Nadu, but that was never taken into consideration,” he said.In 2019, however, around the time that KCR called on Stalin, VCK had warned the DMK against joining hands with the Telangana CM, calling him “leader of the BJP’s B team”. Asked about this, Ravikumar said circumstances have compelled KCR’s party to take on the BJP. “So they are no longer the BJP B-team,” he said.According to Ravikumar, VCK continues to hold the position that any Opposition alliance without the Congress would benefit the BJP.As the party plans to play a significant role in the Opposition front in the lead-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, the VCK, which had a 1% vote share in the last Assembly elections, is stepping up efforts to increase its visibility outside of Tamil Nadu. The VCK now has office-bearers in Telangana, Andhra, Karnataka, and Kerala, in addition to holding an influence among Tamils in Mumbai and several pockets of Maharashtra. Unlike in Kerala and Karnataka, where the party is confined to the Tamil population, in Telangana and Andhra Pradesh, the VCK has Telugu-speaking cadres in its party office.In Tamil Nadu, VCK owns Namadhu Thamizh Mannu (Our Tamil Land), a monthly publication, and a TV channel called Velicham, which is yet to take off in a full-fledged manner.

How a small Tamil Dalit party found its space in KCR’s national blueprint
‘Give us goats, herding will be only livelihood option without education’: Children in Maharashtra village oppose closing down of schools
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Around 40 children led a march to the zilla parishad office in Maharashtra’s Nashik district protesting against the state government’s decision to close down schools having less than 20 students. The children from Darewadi village in Igatpuri gave away their bags as a mark of protest and demanded goats saying they could begin herding as it would be the only livelihood option they would have without education.The state government’s decision has led to major opposition across the interiors of Maharashtra as most such schools are located in inaccessible, hilly, rural areas.Watch | Around 40 children led a march to the zilla parishad office at Igatpuri in Maharashtra’s Nashik district protesting against the state government’s decision to close down schools having less than 20 students pic.twitter.com/2VQn50CWTZ— Express Mumbai (@ie_mumbai) October 11, 2022“Darewadi village has been displaced after the construction of the Bham village. Most children going to the zilla parishad school here belong to tribal communities. And the closure of the school means going out of mainstream education as commuting to another school is not an easy task,” said Avinash Madhe, a social activist from Igatpuri. Madhe said the child rights commission is slated to visit the place Tuesday and a protest like this on the same day would help the issue get the required attention.Earlier, several teachers’ organisations had spoken out in protest against the government move. Teachers said most schools with fewer than 20 students are located in hilly or inaccessible areas and if closed, their students may be shut out from the mainstream education system. Teachers say such schools are spread across the state in almost all districts.In a letter to the commissioner and director of education, dated September 21, the state government sought details on the process of Samayojan (adjustment of teachers) as well as data on schools with fewer than 20 students, to be submitted to the finance department. It also stated that making teachers’ appointments for a total of 67,755 vacant posts in zilla parishad schools will be a financial burden on the government.

‘Give us goats, herding will be only livelihood option without education’: Children in Maharashtra village oppose closing down of schools
Centre notifies appointment of Justice Prasanna Varale of Bombay HC as Karnataka High Court Chief Justice
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

The Centre has issued a notification for the elevation of Justice Prasanna B Varale of Bombay High Court as the Karnataka High Court Chief Justice.The Supreme Court Collegium, led by Chief Justice of India U U Lalit, in its September 30 meeting recommended Justice Varale’s elevation.On Tuesday morning, Union Law minister Kiren Rijiju tweeted that as per Constitutional provisions, Justice Varale is appointed as Karnataka High Court Chief Justice.As per the Constitutional provisions, Justice Pankaj Mittal is transferred to Rajasthan as Chief Justice of Rajasthan HC, Justice PB Varale is appointed as Chief Justice of Karnataka HC & Justice AM Magrey as Chief Justice of J&K & Ladakh HC.I extend best wishes to all of them.— Kiren Rijiju (@KirenRijiju) October 11, 2022Earlier this year, three other senior judges of Bombay High Court were also recommended to be elevated as chief justices of other high courts or as a top court judge.Born on June 23, 1962, at Nipani, Justice Varale graduated in Arts and Law from Dr Babasaheb Ambedkar Maratha University and enrolled as an advocate on August 12, 1985. He joined the Chamber of advocate S N Loya and practised civil and criminal law. He was also a lecturer at Ambedkar Law College in Aurangabad from 1990 to 1992.Justice Varale worked as an assistant government pleader and additional public prosecutor at the Bombay High Court bench in Aurangabad and as additional standing counsel for the Union of India. He was appointed as a Bombay High Court judge on July 18, 2008.Last month, a bench led by Justice Varale allowed pleas by nine persons, including Dadra and Nagar Haveli (DNH) Union Territory administrator Praful Khoda Patel, seeking to quash a Mumbai Police first information report (FIR) over the death of parliamentarian Mohan Delkar on February 22 last year.The high court bench led by him initiated a suo motu public interest litigation (PIL) on a stalled project to publish the writings and speeches of Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar.A division bench led by Justice Varale also initiated a suo motu PIL in January this year wherein the court took cognisance of a news report about the risky journey of girls from Khirkhindi village in Satara district, who had to row a boat across the Koyna dam every day to reach their school. The bench asked the Maharashtra government to provide help to school children facing a similar plight in the state.Meanwhile, the Centre is yet to notify Bombay High Court Chief Justice Dipankar Datta’s elevation as a Supreme Court judge which the collegium recommended in its September 26 meeting.Earlier this year, two Bombay High Court judges — Justice S S Shinde and Justice Amjad A Sayed — were elevated as chief justices of Rajasthan and Himachal Pradesh High Courts, respectively. While Justice Shinde retired as the CJ of Rajasthan High Court last month, Justice Sayed’s tenure as CJ of Himachal Pradesh High Court will continue till January 2023.In April 2019, Justice Abhay S Oka of the Bombay High Court was elevated as the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court and in August 2021, he was further elevated as a Supreme Court judge.The Centre on October 6 issued a notification for the appointment of six judicial officers as additional judges of the Bombay High Court. They are Sanjay Deshmukh, Yanshivraj Khobragade, Mahendra Chandwani, Abhay Waghwase, Ravindra Joshi and Vrushali Joshi.The Supreme Court collegium in its September 7 meeting approved a proposal for their elevation.The Bombay High Court is currently functioning with 67 judges: 43 permanent and 24 additional judges. However, the sanctioned strength of the court, which is the second largest in the country after Allahabad High Court, is 94. After Justice Varale’s elevation, the total strength of the high court will be 66.

Centre notifies appointment of Justice Prasanna Varale of Bombay HC as Karnataka High Court Chief Justice
Maharashtra govt mulls reviving exams for classes 3-8
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

MUMBAI: The state is examining the possibility of bringing back exams for Class 3 to 8 students, though detaining them may not be on the cards. Under the Right to Education Act, schools have to promote students from classes 1 to 8. Assessment of students has to be done through the academic year and their learning outcome has to be improved upon. In Class 9, schools can detain students for poor academic performance. At a function in Pune on Friday, school education minister Deepak Kesarkar said a committee of experts will look into whether exams can be reintroduced for students from classes 3 to 8. The RTE Act was amended in 2019 to allow states to hold a yearly exam in Class 3 and 8 and allow detention. Maharashtra has not issued a government resolution on the amended Act. Schools have been conducting exams-quarterly and semester-to assess students. Those who underperform in these exams are put through remedial classes to improve their learning outcome. The minister said the committee, including psychologists, will discuss exams but there will be no question of detaining students. School heads said promoting students despite poor academic performance has only done damage to the children. "Students are pushed from one class to another due to the no-fail policy. These children have it tough when they reach Class 9," said a principal. Teachers say exams make sense only if detention is allowed. "Schools are conducting exams, holding remedial classes for students who get promoted by default. An exam that will allow detention will bring seriousness among students," said a teacher. As part of the National Education Policy (NEP), the state has been toying with various ideas to reduce the burden of school-going students. Kesarkar has proposed dividing textbooks into three parts and attaching blank pages where students can take down notes and thus avoid carrying separate notebooks. Schools have been accused of detaining students in Class 9 to achieve good results in Class 10. Principals say exams without the fear of having to repeat a class will not serve their purpose. "At least students not performing well despite remedial classes should be detained, to give them another year to get their concepts right," said a principal.

Maharashtra govt mulls reviving exams for classes 3-8
Maharashtra: State’s net waste of Corbevax doses 14.31%, above 10% permissible limit
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Due to the drop in demand for Covid-19 vaccines, Maharashtra’s net waste of Corbevax, India’s first indigenously developed RBD protein subunit vaccine, is 14.31 per cent — higher than the estimated allowable vaccine waste of 10 per cent. Corbevax was introduced on March 16. A total of 17 districts in the state have recorded net vaccine wastage above 15 per cent.The most waste was in Parbhani at 31.14 per cent followed by Palghar (27.64 per cent), Amravati (25.55 per cent), Gondia (25.44 per cent) and Buldhana (22.67 per cent). Vaccine waste is broadly divided into two categories: waste in unopened vials and in opened vials.In case of Corbevax, most of the waste is of opened vials where the remaining doses are discarded at the end of a vaccination session.At the vaccination site, the waste of vaccines has a direct relationship with session size — the number of beneficiaries per session — and vial size. When The Indian Express spoke to the officers and doctors, they said the vaccination centres aren’t getting enough children to use the full 10 ml vial of Corbevax.“A 10 ml vial of Corbevax is used to vaccinate 20 children. Once opened, the vial has to be used within four hours. But as Nandurbar is a tribal dominated district that is sparsely populated, gathering adequate number of children at the same place turns into the biggest hurdle to use all 20 doses,” said Dr Govind Chaudhari, district health officer, Nandurbar.The centre has advised the states to mobilise people and not to open vials if they don’t have adequate number of people. “But it is not feasible to implement it as the children lose their patience and we can’t send them back,” said Dr Dayanand Suryawanshi, DHO, Palghar.In fact, due to the drop in immunisation, a few districts that recorded among the lowest rates of vaccine waste in August, the ratio of waste surged gradually in October. For instance in August, Osmanabad reported net vaccine waste of 2.25 per cent and Aurangabad 3.34 per cent. In October, this increased to 6.45 per cent and 5.1 per cent respectively.According to a health official from Amravati, since the monsoon onset in July, the situation has worsened as the travel time through hilly terrain has become more challenging. “Every village is separated by 4 km to 8 km. Earlier, the vaccinators could travel within stipulated time to use the remaining doses in neighbouring villages. But now due to the monsoon, the road has become inaccessible, making quick commute problematic,” he said.But 15 districts in the state have recorded vaccine waste below the state’s average. This includes Bhandara, which is the only district that reported negative waste of Corbevax doses as vaccinators in the district were able to inoculate 21 beneficiaries from a 10 ml vial that is meant for 20 people. Dr Desai explained, “Sometimes, a vial has an excess dose called ‘overfill’. Then it is used to vaccinate the 11th person, which not only prevented waste but helped us achieve more than the set target per vial,” he said.Dr SS Shelke, DHO of Aurangabad, told The Indian Express that the ‘captive vaccination policy’ was adopted by which vaccination camps were held in schools to get the most children at a time with the help of Asha workers and healthcare workers from Primary Health Centres (PHCs). “As the severity of infection among children is lower, not many come forward for vaccination. So, we held camps in schools that helped us attain our target and prevent waste of doses,” he said.Vaccine waste is one of the key factors to be considered for vaccine forecasting and need estimation. The Union Health Ministry issued a circular in March 2021 with the formula about the number of Covid vaccine doses required in a month in a catchment area — Requirement = (Total population to be covered in the catchment area) × (% of the population to be covered in this catchment area/number of months of the campaign) × 2 doses × Wastage Multiple Factor (WMF).However, the Centre hasn’t provided the figure about allowable waste percentage.The permissible vaccine waste rate varies according to the state and type of vaccines as per the norms of the central government.Dr Sachin Desai, Maharashtra surveillance officer, said, “…the Centre has provided us with the allowable waste figure…”

Maharashtra: State’s net waste of Corbevax doses 14.31%, above 10% permissible limit
Most CUET toppers scored 95% plus in Class XII but for a few, a second chance
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

Also written by Nini Benny“A second chance at putting my career (to represent India as an IFS officer) on track…” is how 20-year-old Shayema, a resident of Batla House, New Delhi, sees her 100th percentile score in the recently conducted Common University Entrance Test (CUET) for undergraduate programmes.She scored 83.8% in her Class 12 board exam. It’s a score that, going by traditional cut-offs, would have kept her out of what she wants to study — History in a top Delhi University college. Now, as she says, she has a second chance and an almost sure shot.Shayema’s case is a textbook example for what CUET was designed for: to flatten the university application playing field across boards and regions and Class XII marks. At the very top of the pyramid, however, there are only a few like Shayema.On September 16, the National Testing Agency (NTA) announced names of 114 CUET toppers who scored 100th percentile scores in at least four or more papers. The Indian Express interviewed 103 of the 114 toppers and identified two telling patterns:🔴 Most of the toppers are mainly CBSE students and most of them had scored above 95% in their Class 12 exams.In fact, 100 of the 103 toppers are students of CBSE-affiliated schools. Two had taken the Indian School Certificate (ISC) exam in Class 12 and only one wasn’t a student of a national board. None was a student of a state board.  Incidentally, over three quarters of the total 14.9 lakh CUET examinees are from CBSE schools, followed by Uttar Pradesh Board, Bihar Board and CISCE.🔴 Of the 103 toppers The Indian Express spoke to, only 16 had scored less than 95% marks in their Board exam and only one (Shayema) had less than 90%, which would have made their admission to a top Central university like DU a challenge in the cut-off system.🔴 A majority of the toppers, 62 of 103, are from New Delhi and the National Capital Region. The share of toppers from the southern states is negligible. While Kerala had three candidates among the top 100th percentile achievers and one from Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, states like Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Karnataka or even Maharashtra and Goa had none.Significantly, Tamil Nadu had opposed CUET on the ground that it would put state board students at a disadvantage. The state’s argument was that the entrance test is based on NCERT syllabus which would give CBSE students an edge. As the CUET was announced, the Tamil Nadu assembly had even adopted a resolution urging the Central Government to drop the proposal of CUET, stating that it would not give an equal opportunity to students who have studied in various state boards syllabi across the country.Among the toppers, Shayema is an exception – the only one amongst the 103 hundredth percentile scorers who belongs to a local board and has yet managed to make the CUET work in her favour.“I can understand the objections of the state board students because the entrance test is based on the NCERT syllabus so there is a natural advantage to the CBSE students. Luckily for me, though I belong to the Jamia Millia Islamia’s school board, the pattern they follow is CBSE and we studied NCERT books,” said Shayema.Shayema was born in Darbhanga, Bihar, from where she went to Kuwait as a toddler when her father found a job. After three years, her family moved to Dubai where she studied in an ICSE school for six years before returning to India in 2017, when she was in Class 8. The constant changes of schooling and her health took a toll and she dropped out of school for a year before enrolling in a school in Darbhanga the next year.Shayema, who lives in Batla House, New Delhi, with her younger sibling, is an UPSC aspirant. “My father works in a private company in the administrative department and my mother is a housewife. They have dreamt of a bright future for us, that’s why they are allowing us to stay away from home and study. I want to be an IFS officer and represent my country to the world. I want to show girls from my community can do well too,” she said.“But at the same time, I will say this, had it not been for CUET, I would not have stood a chance to study at the top institutions in Delhi University because my Class 12 scores was only 83.80 percent. CUET gave me a second chance to correct my mistakes,” she said.Most students with relatively low Class XII scores but at the top in CUET echoed her views.“Because of my low marks in Hindi, I had a low overall percentage and my dream college is Hindu. If there was no CUET, then I would have never been able to make it to Hindu College. Because of CUET I got a second chance to improve and help myself. Now, I have a high chance of making it there. I wish to pursue History at either St. Stephen’s College or Hindu College,” said Adarsh Kumar Dubey (18), a student of National High School, Kolkata. He scored 92.4% in his CBSE Board exam.Pooja Jain, 19, a student of Loreto House in Kolkata, who scored 97.6% in Class 12 is one of the two ISC students among the 103 CUET toppers who scored 100th percentile in four subjects.“Was CUET helpful? Yes, because my Class XII percentage was not enough to get admission into SRCC, Delhi University. But I also know some friends who scored 99% in boards but did not do so well in CUET, so they missed their place in top colleges,” she said.

Most CUET toppers scored 95% plus in Class XII but for a few, a second chance
Gujarat: Neeraj-inspired self-taught tribal youth strikes gold in javelin
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

VADODARA: His spear matched no others during his school days, but Bharat Rathwa, an orphan boy from Chhota Udepur, had given up on his javelin fearing it won't give him any scope in India. But when Haryana's Neeraj Chopra fetched the Olympic gold last year, this 22-year-old tribal from a remote village in Gujarat picked up his javelin once again, and with a stupendous comeback by winning a gold medal at the 6th International Games in Nepal. "It is my first gold at international level and I dedicate it to Neeraj Chopra. I can't describe my feelings in words but this feat has given me a boost to compete at a higher level," Rathwa told TOI. What's more, it is unbelievably true that Rathwa began practising javelin professionally only a year ago. "I had won several javelin throwing contests in school but gave up the sport as I felt it doesn't have much scope in India ," recalled Rathwa. I had won several javelin throwing contests in school but gave up the sport as I felt it doesn't have much scope in India. I was into cricket for two years. But last year Neeraj Chopra made history by winning an Olympic gold in javelin throwing," recalled Rathwa, adding that his hopes were rekindled by Chopra's feat. And that was a defining moment for this tribal athlete. "I thought that if Neeraj can do it, so can I. So, I began practising javelin professionally again in August last year. After two months I participated in my first inter-district open athletics championships in Himmatnagar in October and won a bronze medal," he added. Egged on by success, Rathwa participated in the state-level athletics championship at Rajkot where he won silver. That was followed by a gold medal in the national athletics championships in Morbi as well as another gold in the national tournament in Maharashtra this year. Interestingly, Rathwa doesn't undergo any professional coaching. "After a brief training session in Delhi some months ago, I returned to Gujarat as I wasn't comfortable in getting trained amid public view. I coach myself by watching YouTube videos and consulting some experts including Kishan sir who guides me often," said the gifted athlete. Rathwa lost his parents when he was in Class 7 and he dropped out of the school after failing to clear the HSC exams. He is now looked after by his sister, but Rathwa aspires to be financially independent."Rathwa is a very promising talent. I spotted him during the athletics tournament in Himmatnagar last year and began supporting him. I know some coaches who offer him help sometimes as he prefers to train himself. He has the potential to make it big in javelin throwing," said Kishan Dalsania, secretary, sports, youth and cultural department, Delhi.

Gujarat: Neeraj-inspired self-taught tribal youth strikes gold in javelin
Maharashtra: School bus fees may be hiked 10%
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

MUMBAI: The school bus owners association has proposed to increase bus fares for students by 10% post Diwali in view of the recent hikes in CNG prices which has hit them hard. A decision will be taken soon. "The CNG price has escalated by over Rs 30 a kg in the past year, and the latest hike on October 4 has brought the price to an all-time high of Rs 86 per kg. This has increased operational costs which is why we are demanding that the school bus fee be hiked by at least 10%," said Anil Garg from School Bus Owners' Association. For parents, this could be a huge burden since they have faced a fee hike of around 20% in June, and this could be the second hike in a year. Another bus operator said the hike in CNG rates was Rs 20 per kg between April and September, and this was being factored in to demand a fresh hike. The additional monthly fee burden could be at least Rs 200 a month if the hike comes into effect. "It is not easy for everyone to pay such huge amounts for annual bus fee. There has to be a monthly or quarterly payment facility, which can be renewed, if required," said a parent. The bus fee hike mid-academic year could leave parents with no choice. Parents told TOI that schools have long shrugged off responsibility for school buses. "Even if there is a hike, it is not possible to do much when half the academic year is over. The only way to put brakes on such sudden hikes is for schools to take a stand," said a parent whose son is in a Kandivli school. Bus operators had hiked fees at the beginning of the academic year and parents complained about fall in services. "Post-Covid, bus operators have become irresponsible. Helpers and drivers change every other week and there seems to be very little accountability," said a parent, whose son goes to a school in Andheri. In August, the driver of a Maladschool bus was found drunk at the wheel. Parents had protested and demanded better facilities on buses. Several parents complained of the lack of GPS system on buses this year. Maharashtra Navnirman Vahatuk Sena president Sanjay Naik said it was not just buses, but also smaller vans and other vehicles which faced the brunt of CNG hike. "Private operators will be justified if they increase rates as cost of running vehicles has gone up in recent months," he said.

Maharashtra: School bus fees may be hiked 10%
National Games: Maharashtra’s Vaibhav Srirame overcomes odds to win Yogasana gold
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

AHMEDABAD: Vaibhav Srirame of Maharashtra has shown that if stubbornness is accompanied by hard work, one can overcome hurdles and achieve success. He won the gold medal in the yogasana competition at the National Games Gujarat. Hailing from the city of Nagpur, Vaibhav, who lives in a ten-by-ten square foot room, has had a passion for yoga since childhood. He started his competitive career at the of 12 while he was in school. He is currently pursuing a degree in Commerce. At the World Championship in Malaysia, Vaibhav, whose father works as an electrician, bagged five medals – one gold, two silver and two bronze – to cap off a sensational outing. For this competition, the total expenses were around Rs 2.5 lakh. Unfortunately, at that time, yogasana was not a sport on the priority list, so it was difficult for him to get financial support from the government. Considering his family condition, he could not afford this cost, so he appealed to different philanthropists. Union road transport and highways minister, Nitin Gadkari, helped him financially, which allowed him to participate in overseas competitions and win medals for India. Vaibhav has won medals in almost ten national competitions, including the Khelo India meets. In his very first competition at the National Games, he won the gold under the guidance of his coach Suhas Pavle.

National Games: Maharashtra’s Vaibhav Srirame overcomes odds to win Yogasana gold
Pune Knowledge Cluster launches ‘Teach with Tech’ to bridge digital divide in school learning
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

The Covid-19 pandemic brought to the fore the digital divide in many sectors, particularly in education. Identifying these gaps and the need to promote e-learning for future learners, the Pune Knowledge Cluster (PKC) Friday launched ‘Teach with Tech’ for school students and teachers.The project aims to create digital content aligning with the National Education Policy 2020, train teachers in using digital tools to improve the learning process, develop and impart skills, critical thinking and problem-solving abilities in students among others.Speaking on the occasion, Professor Ajit Kembhavi, PKC Principal Investigator, said, “We are all familiar with the conventional learning methods involving physical classes, teachers physically teaching in classrooms and students taking notes in books. But the Covid-19 pandemic affected physical learning for many students in the absence of digital tools. But the pandemic helped introduce remote learning.”“We have now launched digital learning project before there arises a similar situation. This is a step to help stay prepared and thus keep learning going. The project will also facilitate teachers to stay updated,” he added.PKC has adopted five Pune-based schools where the pilot project will be introduced in the ongoing academic year. Using its CSR funding, Lenovo will support the project by providing tablets to the schools identified in the project.Teach with Tech aims to conduct 100 sessions, 20 for each of the five schools, during the upcoming months. They target to reach out to 750 students and 250 teachers from Zilla Parishad schools in Pune in the pilot phase.Pankaj Harjai, APAC Table head, Lenovo, said, ” Lenovo wants to enable and make education easier for teachers and students through technology.”The five schools to benefit from the project include Modern High School, Shishu Vihar, Pune Vidyapeeth High School, Shri Shivaji Vidya Mandir, Nutan Marathi Vidyalay Girls High School and Baburao Gholap School. At the Shishu Vihar school, the project will be implemented for students of classes VI and VII.The timely availability of tablets or mobile phones for learning has been a pressing issue for Marathi-medium schools, said a teacher from the Girls High School.

Pune Knowledge Cluster launches ‘Teach with Tech’ to bridge digital divide in school learning
HSC and SSC exams 2023: Candidates asked to pay more to submit forms for preferred institutions
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

External and private student candidates registering for the HSC and SSC examinations in February-March 2023, which are to be conducted by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE), faced a hurdle while filling up their examination application forms after several of them were asked to pay additional fees by the contact centres at their preferred schools or junior colleges. External and private students can register for the examinations through Form no 17, which is also useful for ones who have left school because of social, economic, family or personal problems.“I had filled out the form online and also paid the required examination fees by visiting a cyber cafe. When I went to a junior college to submit my forms for the process of verification, I was asked to pay Rs 6,000 straight up. I could not pay the fee and ended up going to another junior college in Nana Peth. There too, they asked for Rs 500 but at least I got to submit my examination form,” said a 17-year-old student, requesting anonymity.Pratiksha Hawale, a mobiliser at Manodaya Centre, Shivajinagar, said many students were not allowed to submit their forms at schools or junior colleges. “There are many students who moved away from the education system due to social and economic problems. One such student, a 17-year-old who will be appearing for her 10th standard examination, was not allowed to submit her form, with the college citing unavailability of seats. The student was asked to try a college centre in Alandi. Her parents asked her to leave her studies. It is sad that while we try to bring such students back into the education system, such issues make access even more difficult.”Mandar Shinde, a child rights activist and convenor at Action for the Rights of the Child (ARC), said they approached the state board and the divisional board officer after receiving such complaints from students. “We had received several such complaints from various organisations and children that we work with. We tried to resolve the issue at the divisional board but they could not initiate action as the schools and junior colleges come under the education department… The authorities have assured us that they will take action against schools brought to their notice.”Sharad Gosavi, chairman of the MSBSHSE, said that an official letter has been issued to all divisional centres to ensure that no student is asked to pay an additional fee. “A complete inspection report will be sought with respect to this matter. Defaulting schools or junior colleges will have to face action.” “I had filled out the form online and also paid the required examination fees by visiting a cyber cafe. When I went to a junior college to submit my forms for the process of verification, I was asked to pay Rs 6,000 straight up. I could not pay the fee and ended up going to another junior college in Nana Peth. There too, they asked for Rs 500 but at least I got to submit my examination form,” said a 17-year-old student, requesting anonymity.Pratiksha Hawale, a mobiliser at Manodaya Centre, Shivajinagar, said many students were not allowed to submit their forms at schools or junior colleges. “There are many students who moved away from the education system due to social and economic problems. One such student, a 17-year-old who will be appearing for her 10th standard examination, was not allowed to submit her form, with the college citing unavailability of seats. The student was asked to try a college centre in Alandi. Her parents asked her to leave her studies. It is sad that while we try to bring such students back into the education system, such issues make access even more difficult.”Mandar Shinde, a child rights activist and convenor at Action for the Rights of the Child (ARC), said they approached the state board and the divisional board officer after receiving such complaints from students. “We had received several such complaints from various organisations and children that we work with. We tried to resolve the issue at the divisional board but they could not initiate action as the schools and junior colleges come under the education department… The authorities have assured us that they will take action against schools brought to their notice.”Sharad Gosavi, chairman of the MSBSHSE, said that an official letter has been issued to all divisional centres to ensure that no student is asked to pay an additional fee. “A complete inspection report will be sought with respect to this matter. Defaulting schools or junior colleges will have to face action.” Pratiksha Hawale, a mobiliser at Manodaya Centre, Shivajinagar, said many students were not allowed to submit their forms at schools or junior colleges. “There are many students who moved away from the education system due to social and economic problems. One such student, a 17-year-old who will be appearing for her 10th standard examination, was not allowed to submit her form, with the college citing unavailability of seats. The student was asked to try a college centre in Alandi. Her parents asked her to leave her studies. It is sad that while we try to bring such students back into the education system, such issues make access even more difficult.”Mandar Shinde, a child rights activist and convenor at Action for the Rights of the Child (ARC), said they approached the state board and the divisional board officer after receiving such complaints from students. “We had received several such complaints from various organisations and children that we work with. We tried to resolve the issue at the divisional board but they could not initiate action as the schools and junior colleges come under the education department… The authorities have assured us that they will take action against schools brought to their notice.”Sharad Gosavi, chairman of the MSBSHSE, said that an official letter has been issued to all divisional centres to ensure that no student is asked to pay an additional fee. “A complete inspection report will be sought with respect to this matter. Defaulting schools or junior colleges will have to face action.” Mandar Shinde, a child rights activist and convenor at Action for the Rights of the Child (ARC), said they approached the state board and the divisional board officer after receiving such complaints from students. “We had received several such complaints from various organisations and children that we work with. We tried to resolve the issue at the divisional board but they could not initiate action as the schools and junior colleges come under the education department… The authorities have assured us that they will take action against schools brought to their notice.”Sharad Gosavi, chairman of the MSBSHSE, said that an official letter has been issued to all divisional centres to ensure that no student is asked to pay an additional fee. “A complete inspection report will be sought with respect to this matter. Defaulting schools or junior colleges will have to face action.” Sharad Gosavi, chairman of the MSBSHSE, said that an official letter has been issued to all divisional centres to ensure that no student is asked to pay an additional fee. “A complete inspection report will be sought with respect to this matter. Defaulting schools or junior colleges will have to face action.”

HSC and SSC exams 2023: Candidates asked to pay more to submit forms for preferred institutions
Minor sustains 17 stitches on face in stalker’s attack: Cops
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

A minor girl sustained 17 stitches on her face after an alleged stalker attacked her in an attempt to slit her throat for denying his advances.According to police, the incident happened Wednesday evening when the 14- year-old girl went to answer nature’s call near her house. She was intercepted by the accused, an alleged eve-teaser, who inflicted repeated blows on her face using a knife. The accused sped from the spot as neighbours rushed to the spot after hearing the survivor’s cry for help.The victim was rushed to New Civil Hospital where doctors said she got 17 stitches on her face. The accused, who is still at large, also allegedly made calls to her family members and threatened them to kill the victim.The girl’s mother lodged a complaint at the nearby police station against the accused who has allegedly fled to his native in Maharashtra. The police have registered a case under IPC Sections 324 (voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapon), 354 (a) (1)(2) (sexual harassment, and demand or request for sexual favours) and 354 (d) (stalking).“The accused used to come to a nearby house. He tried to befriend her but she turned down (the approach). The accused was regularly harassing her while she was on her way to school… We have sent our teams to Maharashtra to catch him. The condition of the girl is stable,” said Assistant commissioner of police Z R Desai.

Minor sustains 17 stitches on face in stalker’s attack: Cops
IAS officer’s initiative scales up students’ learning level in Sangli schools
The Indian Express | 1 month ago | |
The Indian Express
1 month ago | |

In November 2021, when the results of the National Achievement Survey (NAS) were released, the figures took 31-year-old IAS officer Jitendra Dudi, the Chief Executive Officer of Sangli district, by surprise. Students from Maharashtra, though better than the national average, still scored poorly – one in three students of Class III couldn’t answer basic questions related to language and mathematics as per their expected learning level.It was then that Dudi decided to take it up as a mission to improve the learning outcomes among the zila parishad school students in his district and thus began the ‘Learning Improvement Programme (LIP)’ in Sangli.From getting every child assessed individually, preparing report cards and distributing to class teachers, devising strategies to creatively teach students foundational language and numeracy skills, encouraging teachers to get creative, involving mothers in learning and forming WhatsApp groups – the project has come a long way in the last nine months.Reaching over 1-lakh children, more than 5,500 teachers and 90 block-level and district-level cadre, the LIP has now completed over six months. Its success is a case study in teaching-learning innovation.In December 2021, Dudi collaborated with Pratham Foundation and conducted a baseline assessment of every single student.“Sangli is the first district where every student from Class I to VIII was assessed. We prepared a report card of every student and suggested interventions,” said Machhindra Padwal, co-ordinator, Pratham Foundation.Then began a six-month intervention programme. A group of 250 teachers was selected to develop content – albeit creatively. “Generally, when we give teachers ready-made content, their acceptance level is low. We asked them to develop their own content. We decided to use local stories… involved mothers who became our volunteers,” said Dudi.The ‘volunteer mothers’ ran a summer camp for the older kids in May, engaging children daily in innovative activities.One such volunteer,  Jayshree Vithhal Kharade from Kadegaon taluka’s Hinganrao Budruk, said, “The teachers first called us to school and gave us a booklet, many worksheets and other material. They asked us to form groups of children living in our vicinity, I  took responsibility of five students. We used objects like vegetables, leaves, or utensils to teach kids,” she said. The mothers would meet weekly to discuss their progress and experience.Besides all this, a radio programme — ShaleBaherchi Shala — was broadcast thrice a week.In July 2022, six months after the project started, a midline assessment was conducted. The findings are such — the percentage of children in Grades 3-5 who are readers (can read a Grade 2 level text) has gone up to 79 per cent, an increase of nine percentage points. There was a 17% percentage point jump in the number of Grade 3 children who could solve a 2×2 addition problem. For Grades 4 and 5, there was an improvement of at least 10 percentage points in the number of children who could tackle the writing section of the pen-and-paper test.“The improvement has been tremendous. Our aim is to get above 85 to 90 per cent score in all aspects of all our learners by our next survey in February-March 2023,” said Dudi.

IAS officer’s initiative scales up students’ learning level in Sangli schools
‘Teach Gujarati compulsorily in primary schools’
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

AHMEDABAD: The Gujarat high court on Tuesday sought an explanation from the state government as to why it has not implemented the policy of introducing Gujarati as a mandatory subject in primary schools. The bench of Justice Sonia Gokani and Justice Nisha Thakore issued a notice in response to a PIL filed by Matrubhasha Abhiyan through advocates Amar Bhatt and Archit Jani. The petitioners cited a government resolution passed on April 13, 2018, which made it mandatory for all schools in the state to teach Gujarati language in primary sections, at least from the second term of the academic year 2018-19. The petitioner complained that though the government has adopted the policy, it has not implemented it. With more schools offering English medium education, and the number of Gujarati medium schools decreasing, learning of Gujarati has been adversely affected. The lawyers submitted that states like Telangana and Maharashtra have not only made a policy for mandatory teaching of local languages, but also passed legislations, which are in consonance with Article 29 of the Constitution. It was also submitted that the government has not taken efforts to implement the policy in schools affiliated to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), Indian Certificate for Secondary Education (ICSE) and International Baccalaureate (IB). During the hearing, the lawyers highlighted the recommendations of the Kothari Commission, the New Education Policy of 2020, and the insistence on the three-language formula but asserted that the implementation has been a problem in Gujarat. The state government insisted that CBSE, ICSE and IB should also be questioned by the high court on why they have not implemented the government diktat on teaching of Gujarati in primary schools. However, the judges said that the government is a policy maker and its implementer, and therefore the boards are not required to be impleaded as party respondents. The court also sought explanation from the government on why it feels that it is at the mercy of the boards for teaching Gujarati language. The matter will be further heard on October 18.

‘Teach Gujarati compulsorily in primary schools’
Midday meal scheme runs without oil, pulses, veggies as Maharashtra funding stops
Times of India | 1 month ago | |
Times of India
1 month ago | |

PUNE: The midday meal scheme across the state has been floundering for the past few weeks with no cooking oil, pulses or vegetables to cook the 'khichdi' that is served to school students in both rural and urban areas. Schools have been given foodgrain but no other supplies. They have also not been sent funds to make these purchases. In some schools, principals are spending on ingredients from their own pockets because they do not want the children to suffer. Other schools have not even received their supply of foodgrain. State government officials said funds would soon be released for the scheme. State education director Mahesh Palkar said the Union government recently disbursed the first instalment of Rs 400 crore to the state. The state government will allocate the amount to the education department, which in turn will disburse the amount to schools and kitchen contractors. The process would take another fortnight," Palkar said. Kitchen contractors and women self-help groups that provide cooked meals to schools have written to the state government to speed up the reimbursement process, but have been told to wait. Rajesh Gaikwad, who manages a centralised kitchen in Pune, said, "We are managing from our own pockets. The system is to reimburse us for the raw material. The reimbursements have been pending since March." Most students in rural areas rely on the meals provided by schools, which help curb malnutrition. Teachers said the meals convince parents to send their children to school. Mahendra Ganpule, a senior official of the principals' association in Maharashtra, said, "When kitchen contractors go to the government for reimbursements, the officers threaten to terminate their contracts and hand them to someone else. Fear of losing the contracts makes them continue with their funding." The state government recently told all kitchen contractors and schools to fill up information in the online system about how many children ate daily and the quantity of meals cooked every day. A manager at a centralised kitchen shed in Bhor taluka said the online system does not work because it is not possible to share the data in the system every day. "We are able to feed the data on some days but on other days the system is either down or we are unable to give inputs due to the workload. The state considers online data and refund contractors and self-help groups, accordingly. The scheme is a big mess in the state," he added.

Midday meal scheme runs without oil, pulses, veggies as Maharashtra funding stops