The government wants to conduct aptitude tests — those held for Class X students — for junior college students to help them plan their education and career, says Maharashtra education minister Vinod Tawde. By taking all junior college admissions, the government wants to improve the transparency in the admission process, said Tawde. Excerpts from an interview..
Junior college admissions have been seeing a lot of change over the past few years, and this year, too, more changes have been implemented. Why has admission rules changed?
Tawde: The idea behind conducting junior college admissions online was to bring transparency in the system and ensure that colleges do not fleece students. Over the years, we realised that once admissions were conducted online, colleges used extra/vacant seats to attract students and also charge extra money for the same, which needs to stop. By cancelling the offline procedure, we are ensuring students get admissions according to their choice and ability.
With the number of changes that are being brought about in the education sector, there have also been complaints that the government is ignoring the opinion of stakeholders — students, teachers and colleges. What do you have to say?
Tawde: The aim of our department now is to make sure that students get a wide variety of choice before they choose a college or a career of their interest; nobody should be denied their basic right. Off late, the education department has been holding several meetings with colleges, former university officials as well as students and understanding what kind of help they need from us. Accordingly, taking their opinions into account, changes are and will be implemented, so they have nothing to worry about.
What’s the status of Maharashtra Public Universities bill?
Tawde: The bill is with the joint select committee for a final review and the government is working really hard to ensure that the process raps up soon. For the time being, we have extended the previous order till May 31, 2016, so that nothing affects the functioning of the universities. This year, new colleges and courses, too, should get approved quickly.
What’s next on the government’s agenda for students?
Tawde: We have been in talks with colleges to see if something similar to the aptitude test that the government recently conducted for Class X students, can be repeated for Class XII or degree college students as well. It is very important that students understand what they are good at and accordingly opt for higher education as well as career choices. Gone are the days when parents decided what’s best for children, now children are smart enough to find what’s best for them. I wish colleges could openly talk to students and help them with this decision.
What changes should students expect to see in coming years?
Tawde: Over the years, many students have complained to the government about being cheated by education institutes, which needs to stop. Whatever changes the government is working on implementing will simply make lives easier for students, so they can be assured that even though the changes will look difficult at the beginning, the government is leaving no stone unturned in ensuring that there’s more transparency in the system.