The Maharashtra government is keen to re-start college elections as they would groom student leaders and help them develop leadership skills, education minister Vinod Tawde said on Saturday in Mumbai.
College elections in Maharashtra were stopped in the 1990s after a spate of fights and kidnappings were reported.
"But, bad things happened in the 1990s and lot of things have changed. I am of the view that due to some negative aspects, we should not stop the process altogether. Due to college elections, youth leadership is developed," said Tawde, who himself has risen from the ranks from a student leader said while interacting with students of his alma mater Sathaye College in suburban Mumbai.
He felt debates should be organised in colleges where candidates in fray can participate and hone their oratory and leadership skills.
"Students can give their mobiles to their teachers in return of which they will get a code number for each candidate. The vote can be made from home by SMSing the code number. Students who do not have mobile phone can post their ballot from home. Colleges can have a holiday during the poll day," he said.
Tawde said the process could be difficult but challenges should be accepted rather than running away from it. Existing law would need to be amended for the purpose, he said.
Tawde, while replying to queries from students, said the academic calender should be prepared at the start of the year and pattern should not be changed mid-way.
"This system is likely to be implemented from the next academic year," he added.
'Be a student 24x7', Tawde told the students and asked them to think big and aim for exceptional things.
When asked about inclusion of self defence for girls in curriculum, he said the initiative could not be sustained because of lack of man power.
"We will consider promoting this through NGOs. This curriculum will boost the confidence of girl students not just for physical defence but all forms of challenges," he said. Responding to a query on inclusion of more practicals rather than theory in media studies, Tawde said he would make the suggestion to the academic council as he feels politicians should suggest and not interfere with syllabus.
The minister also said cultural activities among students need to be promoted and agreed that if examination dates clashed with important cultural events, those participating should be given the facility for appearing for the exam at a later date.
He assured that he would speak to the Vice Chancellor about this demand.
Tawde said moulding creativity in students was necessary as it helps to develop emotional quotient among them.
"IQ is good for career prospects but EQ helps students to value relationships." He said student suicides can be prevented if the friends help each other through counselling. "Be a counsellor for your friends who need advice during crisis," he said.