Pune: Maharashtra Education Minister Vinod Tawde's decision to shut down more than 4,000 schools across the State has met with criticism. Nihal Kirnalli, educational and social activist, has written an open letter to Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, stating that the move, taken in the middle of an academic year, is concerning and regressive.
Tawde has justified his move saying the decision is meant to improve the education system and students and teachers at these schools would be moved to nearby schools. Kirnalli wrote in his letter, "Shutting down schools will never contribute to development. Instead, the BJP government is taking Maharashtra back at least 20 years with this action. The present students are India’s building blocks 15 to 20 years from now and depriving them of education is a bad decision. Instead of enrolling new students, the government seems to take pride in crippling the youths and future of Maharashtra."
He said according to a leading daily, the State government spends only 18 per cent of its total budget on education and more than two-thirds of that to pay staff salaries and only 0.4 per cent for training teachers.
"If we study the Delhi education model, the government there has allotted 25 per cent of the total budget towards education and principals from government schools have been sent to Cambridge, Oxford, Harvard and other top universities for training. There is something the Maharashtra government should learn from the Delhi government as far as running the education department is concerned," the letter said.
He concluded that "this unjustified action is very concerning", especially in the land of education activists like Mahatma Phule and Savitribai Phule, and the State government should take inspiration from the likes of Manish Sisodia and Atishi Marlena who have changed the face of education in Delhi in a short period.