Let me clear it first, by writing this piece of edit neither I’m endorsing Sant. Dyaneshwar Vidyapeeth nor supporting Vinod Tawde in his degree issue, just trying to put my words through fact and figure. The attack on Education Minister Vinod Tawde is unfair. He was a victim of corporatization of education sector in Maharashtra and an enthusiastic student who wanted to pursue his education in engineering. Without any opinion on the morality of commercialisation of education, it is my sincere request to the government to frame a policy to check such fraudulent practices in the state. I’m damn sure that there are many victims of this circumstance like Tawde.
Vinod Tawde has not forged or purchased his degree unlike other ministers, his college is unauthorized but he has studied sincerely four years to complete his degree programme. However, he never took an advantage of his degree. There is a difference between having done fraud, possessing fake or acquiring degree from a good institution which is not recognized. Moreover, Bombay HC in 2005 ordered that Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeeth does not have any rights to award degrees, degrees issued even before 2005 were invalid. In this regard, Tawde’s degree is invalid but not fake or fraud.
Maharashtra Legislative Assembly recently passed a bill providing for prohibition of establishment of unauthorised institutions and introduction of unauthorised courses in agriculture, health, sciences, higher and technical and vocational education and animal and fishery sciences. Unfortunately, our Maharashtra state education minister possesses one such unauthorized degree. One Marathi news channel has run a story that Vinod Tawde’s degree is forged. This is a bridged course and everyone was aware of it. Vinod Tawde claimed that he obtained a Bachelor of Engineering Degree from Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeeth, Pune. However, Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeeth is not associated with the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) or the Directorate of Technical Education, Maharashtra.
Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeeth is an autonomous Technical University founded in 1980 and since its inception students have faced this discrimination of being part of an autonomous Technical University that some states in India and some employers did not recognize this. This is very disastrous that the people don’t understand the objective of Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeeth. The ultimate goal of the institute was that all the engineering subjects to be published and taught in Marathi, because that would be very easy to learn and understand in mother tongue, so that the students can apply their minds in better way. Learning for Marathi medium students became easy due to the vernacular medium of the course.
The main reasons behind the today’s developed countries are that their courses are taught in their own language. Moreover, Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeeth believed in giving more vocations trainings and practical knowledge then theories from the books. Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeet was good initiative but unfortunately due to non-visionary politicians that was flattened down. Vinod Tawde, after coming to power could have done justice with such institutions but he just ignored that.
The Opposition parties have demanded Mr. Tawde’s resignation pointing to his alleged ‘fake degree’. However, they failed to understand that this was one of the unique institutions that tried making a difference. Many students, who passed out from this institute endorsed the institution as an excellent institute which was well recognized by entire corporate world. It was the first solid substitute to limited seats in Engineering offered by University Colleges. In fact, they are the first one in this state that brought the concept of sandwich pattern of education with practical on the job experience in the industry. They have been sincerely declared that if students are eager to seek knowledge then only they should join the institute or if keen to get a degree then need not apply to Vidyapeeth. College was very transparent in declaring things prior to the admission. Vinod Tawde is right by being a proud student of the institute. If his degree is bogus then other private engineering college degrees should be questionable and put under the scanner.
If we look at the present scenario, the state government had admitted that there are colleges only with one or two students in Maharashtra. Five colleges in the state were operating with a single student on their rolls, while 151 have two to 10 students. As the members raised concern over the deteriorating quality of higher education and demanded that these colleges should be shut down, Tawde gave an assurance that the state government would seek information about these colleges from the respective universities and table it before the House for further action. Later on, government had fixed a minimum strength for colleges at 60 per cent for urban areas, 50 per cent for rural and 40 per cent for tribal areas against the sanctioned intake. As many as 249 D.Ed colleges in Maharashtra were found illegal by the Supreme Court- appointed committee, Legislative Council was informed. A total of 304 D.Ed colleges were opened without taking permission from the State Government or the consent of National Council for Teachers Education (NCET). After verification, the SC-appointed panel declared 249 of them as illegal. As many as 1,404 schools in the state may be derecognized by the government over non-compliance of the Children’s Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act, 2009. About 161 schools from Pune division, comprising Pune, Ahmednagar and Solapur districts, may be derecognized for not meeting the norms laid under the Act. Latur division has the maximum number of erring schools (265), while Kolhapur division reported the least number with 39. 56 schools have already been derecognized for showing 100 per cent attendance on the rolls, though they had less than 50 per cent students.
Many colleges and schools are run by various politicians and businessmen. In the past two decades, education has become a gambling board with an intention to earn profits. Whatever is the dispute with Vinod Tawde’s degree is, now he must do justice to recognized good institutions and also unrecognized unfair institutions.