State minister for primary, higher and technical education as well as medical education and culture Vinod Tawde has decided to hit the ground running.
He wants to introduce reforms in the fields of school, higher, technical and medical education to improve skills and supplement the current trends in the industry and vocations.
He said the engineering stream, which has stopped attracting students, needs to be seen from a new perspective, and medical education must attract more students and benefit from top-class research facilities.
Tawde wants to overhaul the entire system by adopting Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘skill development’ programme. “Maharashtra will be the youngest state by 2030 and we will try to create as many skilled people as possible by then so they can contribute to the country’s development,” he said in an interview to HT.
Tawde said the current education system in the state has not been updated considering the changing trends in the industry globally. “We will have to make changes in the syllabi or come up with a new vocational course so that youngsters in Maharashtra can avail of the opportunities available in the new sectors,” he said.
Tawde said his task will become easier after all the departments under him are clubbed together. Earlier, the HRD would be split among many ministers. He said adding ‘class’ to mass education will be his top priority and he can now plan for the state's academic future over the next 25 years.
While disagreeing with bureaucrats who regretted the fact that 85% of the school education department’s budget of Rs33,000 crore was spent on paying salaries to teachers, Tawde said, “My personal opinion is the salaries paid are an investment in something that can give us good returns. We need positive thinking and participation of all entities to make education better,” he said, adding development will take place only if student welfare is made a priority.
Tawde, who is an electronics engineer, rued the lack of research in the fields of higher education such as in engineering, technology and medical education. He said students steer clear of engineering colleges, especially privates ones, because of the profit-making tactics used by the promoters of such institutes. He said the same thing was happening in private medical colleges.
“We need shikshan maharshee [people who work selflessly in the education field] and not shikshan samrat [people who have commercialised education]. I will do away with outdated syllabi in all fields and consult departments under the Union HRD to improve the situation in our state,” he said.
The minister said increasing the number of seats in medical education was crucial. He said he would get the Centre to help ease the norms related to the attachment of hospitals with state-run medical institutes.
The hospitals attached to a medical college help determine the number of seats approved by the governing body, he said, adding he will get colleges and hospitals close to each other together in order to facilitate students who travel long distances.
Offering an ultra-modern research facility to medical students will also be a top priority for Tawde. “Our government hospitals get all kinds of patients, but our doctors don’t get the facilities to conduct research.”