Students and teachers in Mumbai schools were shocked to find photos of education minister Vinod Tawde published on the Class 10 aptitude test reports given to them on Wednesday.
The reports carrying the results of the first-ever aptitude test - assessing students’ skills and i — interests — were given to students along with the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) exam mark sheets.
The minister’s picture is juxtaposed next to some text explaining why the test was conducted for the first time in Maharashtra along with a congratulatory message from the minister. More than 15 lakh students from the state took the test in February.
Academicians called it a tacky move to publish a politician’s image on a document meant for academic record. “A student’s document is not a place for self-promotion or propaganda,” said a senior teacher from an aided school in Andheri, on condition of anonymity. Teachers refused to be named fearing they will be punished for criticising the photograph.
Another teacher said students were confused when they saw the minister’s photo. “Initially, students believed they had received someone else’s report because they did not recognise the minister,” said a teacher from a Chembur school. Shreya A, a student from Shree Ram School, Andheri, said, “I wondered why the photograph was published on the report.”
Other teachers worried if the document will be accepted by international institutes. “Often students want to attach information about other exams they have appeared for to add weight to their college application, especially to foreign universities,” said a school principal from Dadar.
Tawde, however, said the photograph has been added as a personal message to the students. “The photo is just a tool for effective communication, to reach out to students with an appeal to choose the career path suited to them,” said Tawde. “The aptitude test is a unique initiative carried out by the education department under this (BJP) government,” Tawde said.
The aptitude test:
Skills and interests of more than 15 lakh students were tested in February. This is the first time that the state education department had conducted this test.
The objective was to help students make informed career choices after testing their heir skills and interests, and not let parents to force their choice on students
On April 26, students received an online report on their performance. A counselling helpline-8275100001 is active from May 3 to guide them further.