The Pune Municipal Corporation’s education board is responsible for management of all 274 schools in the city and recruiting 2,400 teachers, but the question arising is whether those tasked with selecting teachers are qualified enough to do so.
Elections for members of the education board are just around the corner and the criteria for the 15 contestants is that they should have passed Std IV, VII and X — depending on the category they are applying under — to make it to the board to manage the administration of PMC schools in the city. This process has been followed after Bombay Primary Education Act set these education parameters in 1949, which has not been amended till date.
“The state government should consider the fact that the act had been made around 60 years ago, when grade VII was considered equivalent to a degree course,” said social activist Vivek Velankar.
He called the entire process of election of members of the education board as the politically motivated procedure. “It is a practice for political parties to offer posts in the education board to keep disgruntled party members, who are generally denied tickets during corporation elections, happy,” Velankar said.
Current member of the education board, Mahesh Ladkat, who holds a Masters in Commerce said, “The law is still to be amended and the only reason for delay is unwillingness by political parties to do so.”
Ladkat said that besides recruiting teachers for PMC-run schools, transfers and buying of school stationary for the education year are other responsibilities of members of the education board.
“Its ironic that the members who select the teachers and are expected to be DEd after passing Std XII exam, are not even graduates,” Ladkat said.
He added that there are only three members on the board, including himself, who hold a degree or masters.
Municipal secretary Sunil Parkhi said that till date he has received 18 forms pf request for membership in the educational board.
“For standard X passed members and above, there are only three seats and five forms have been received for the same. For the general category, which is for standard VII passed members, 11 forms have been received for eight seats. For SC and ST category three forms has been received for the three seats in the board,” Parakhi said.
President of Shikshan Hakka Manch, Matin Mujawar has decided to protest in front of PMC’s main building on Thursday for the same cause.
“One of the important demands on the occasion would be that members of the education board should hold a minimum qualification of a degree and be experience in the filed of education for at least five years,” Mujawar said.
Gadkari camp’s internal drama
BJP city secretary Sudhir Alhat, who is a staunch supporter of BJP national president Nitin Gadkari, sat on a one-day hunger strike yesterday protesting against BJP city general secretary Raghunath Gouda’s name being put forward for a second time for education board membership. Alhat said, “I have already sent a letter to city president Vikas Mathkari, requesting him to give other party workers a chance, as currently Gouda is a member of the education board.” He further said that Mathkari denied his request, which made him to opt for the hunger strike.
“Arbitrary procedures are going on in the party and even some of Gadkari’s supporters are not getting a chance for higher posts,” Alhat said.