The state government has decided to ‘dissolve’ the education board of the Pune Municipal Corporation and asked all the 15 nominated members including the chairman to vacate their offices. Handed a five-year term, the current body has not even celebrated its first anniversary. For the past month Pradeep alias Baba Dhumal, chairman of the PMC education board, was trying his best by personally meeting the Chief Minister, Deputy Chief Minister, School Education Minister and Cooperative Minister to prevent the decision.
“This is a grave injustice. All the ministers including the CM assured us that we would complete our term smoothly. Our body has not even completed a year,” said Dhumal.
After last year’s PMC elections the new education body was formed on July 12, 2012. The tenure of five years will be completed in 2017.
“While doing party work every karyakarta expects some position, which is not possible by contesting elections due to limited seats. The education board is a platform for us. On the other hand, in the RTE there is no mention of suspending education boards running under municipal corporations. All parties should raise their voices in the state assembly against this ordinance,” Dhumal said.
“The ordinance has not highlighted the alternate arrangements to run civic schools,” said education board member Vinita Tatke.
Governor K Shankarnarayan issued a special ordinance on July 1 to repeal four different acts related to primary education under which the education department was functioning. The state wants to make uniform policies of primary education under a single act called Right of Children to free and compulsory Education, 2009 (RTE). According to the ordinance The City of Mumbai Primary Education Act, The Maharashtra Primary Education Act, The Hyderabad Compulsory Primary Education Act, 1952 and The Madhya Pradesh Primary Education Act will be repealed.
“The ordinance has clearly mentioned that the body will dissolve and henceforth PMC itself will look after all policy decisions to run civic schools,” said Shivaji Daundkar, education head of PMC education board. PMC Commissioner Mahesh Pathak said, “The General Body of PMC will take a final decision, otherwise the Women and Child Welfare Committee will take charge.”
“Now a single authority will control the education board. So the decision making process will be faster. This year’s budget for the Education Board is Rs 250 crore. Every monetary decision and procedure will go through the standing committee,” Pathak added.
Once the education board gets dissolved the new committee under the PMC will include corporators. According to sources, with its huge budget this new committee will be sought after.
Subhash Jagtap, NCP leader in the PMC, said, “The criteria for appointment would be decided by leaders at the state level.”