Media tried its level best to trap Vinod Tawde, for acquiring degree from an unrecognised university. There was outrage on social media challenging his credibility after it came to light that he received an engineering degree from a university that is not recognised by the University Grants Commission (UGC) or the All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE).
The Congress has alleged that Tawde has a degree from an unrecognised university. The minister in his election affidavit mentioned that he holds an engineering degree from Sant Dnyaneshwar University in Pune. Congress leader Sanjay Nirupam said that according to the university website, it is not affiliated to the UGC or AICTE. He also launches a protest at Azad Maiden demanded resignation of Education Minister, he said, “Tawde has misguided the people of this state and put the wrong information in his election affidavit. Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis should ask him to tender his resignation on morale ground.”
The disclosure came after a Marathi news channel flashed reports about it. Tawde is a senior cabinet rank minister who is charting out new education policies for school and higher education. Tawde appears to be the latest to join the lot of ministers who invited controversy over educational qualification after Union Minister for Human Resources Development Smriti Irani and Delhi Law Minister Jitendra Singh Tomar.
However, Vinod Tawde maintains that he does not hold a forged degree. Tawde said “It was a bridge course by the university comprising more practical and less theory. We were told clearly that this degree is not affiliated to AICTE. I joined because I thought I would get a job easily. However, I have mentioned it in all my election affidavits and I did not cheat anyone. I did not take any benefits that are due to graduates in the passport, nor did I register myself as a voter in Graduates’ Constituency.”
Kanchan Srivastava, a journalist who is covering political beat for DNA newspaper supports Tawde’s claim and said, “In his passport application Tawde wrote he is HSC passed out. In his long political career, he never enrolled for Graduate’s constituency seat. I’m surprised why he wrote graduate in BE in his election affidavit? It is also surprising me when he knows that the degree is not recognized then also he took admission in that course.”
Tulsidas V. Bhoite, Managing Editor of Mi Marathi channel, the one who exposed the whole episode said, “Now, there is anything to say as Vinod Tawde has accepted that he is not recognised degree holder. He told that the institute itself is not authorized by Pune University, UGC or AICTE. As an education minister, he should not make any wrong claim about his education. As per the norm and present education system, institute must be affiliated with University and with AICTE for technical degrees.
Vinod Tawde explained the whole controversy and clarified through social media also. He tweeted that “Allegations of my degree being bogus are baseless and untrue. Was a student of Dnyaneshwar Univ. Pune & proof of it exists in all official docs. I never took advantage which is given to govt recognised degree holder. Every detail of my edu is stated in election documents & is true. Furthermore, I never registered as voter for elections in graduate category and never availed the graduate benefits in passport application. I never took advantage which is given to govt recognized degree holder. Every detail of my education is stated in election documents is true.”(Sic)
BJP state spokesperson Avadhoot Wagh comes to the defence his Education Minister and said, “Tawde has admitted that he was aware that his BE degree from Sant Dnyaneshwar Vidyapeeth would not be recognise and yet wanted the practical training that it was imparting through a bridge Course and he has stated the same in his election affidavit. To be a Public Servant, a degree is not required and therefore it is being blown out of proportion. In 1980, there were only 2000 students applying for engineering as compared to two lakhs today with only few colleges available. What the remaining students will do, should the stop studying? No, they go for parallel education system and acquire the basic skill and practical training through it.”