School Education Minister Vinod Tawde of the Bharatiya Janta Party (BJP) has grabbed the perfect opportunity to reach out to over 13 lakh households across the state. The aptitude test results, which were handed over to successful SSC candidates on Wednesday, had Tawde’s photo on it with a brief introduction of his portfolios and a message wishing the candidates good luck.
Vinod Tawde’s ‘message’ to students is printed above the aptitude test result
Tawde’s mug shot image appears on top of the sheet, while the candidate’s result follows after his message, which also includes the state and Centre’s schemes. Besides school education, Tawde holds higher and technical, medical and cultural portfolio in the BJP-Shiv Sena-led state government.
The Secondary School Certificate (SSC) results were declared on June 6, but the mark sheets were distributed on Wednesday to students at their respective schools. Along with the SSC mark sheets, copies of the results of the first-ever aptitude test were also distributed. While many are already questioning the aptitude test report, schools were more shocked to see the minister politicising the initiative.
The report card, which carries the minister’s message other than his photo, also publicises different initiatives by the central government such as Make in India, Startup India, Skill India. While there has been a strong reaction against this fame-game, schools have refrained from coming on record while reacting to it, fearing consequences.
“I do not understand how to react to it. Should we laugh at it or question it? It is crazy that the minister used this to publicise himself, that too on top of the result,” said the principal of a school in the western suburbs.
Another principal scoffed, “This batch will remember their education minister for their lifetime. It could also be a new trend now.”
‘Effort to boost morale’
However, Tawde is defiant and doesn’t find anything wrong in the move. “It is my effort to boost students’ morale for a better future and the criticism is rather a political gimmick by the opposition,” Tawde said in statement issued by his office. “The UPA government never thought of any such initiative to help students understand their career interests. We started this innovative initiative and so, the opposition is making an issue out of nothing,” the statement added.
But his reply was far from convincing for school principals. A principal from a Dadar school said, “Today, children took the results. But in a day or two, we will get a reaction from parents. Anybody would react the way we did; we were befuddled. Students and parents are too busy with the admission procedure to even bother looking at these aptitude test results, which don’t provide a clear picture anyway.”