Mumbai: The Maharashtra government ruled by the coalition of Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Shiv Sena has decided to digitise all schools across rural and Urban Maharashtra by December 2018, said Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis during the third session of his interaction programme Me Mukhya Mantri Boltoy. The total number of schools across Maharashtra are more than one lakh and 44,000 schools in rural areas have already been digitised.

Fadnavis, while interacting with students, said, “The process of digitising schools complete with online operations has been taken up on a massive scale. The purpose is to open the world of knowledge to the students uniformly across rural and urban Maharashtra.” The CM further said that special effort has been made to train more teachers to cope with challenges of digital Maharashtra in schools and professional colleges. The state already boasts a number around 50,000 tech-savvy teachers.

Fadnavis also expressed concerns over commercialisation of education and said that, “My government is not going to allow education to become a profit-making venture for the private sector.” The real and larger objective of education, which was the backbone of ancient India and its civilisation, will be reiterated. The students were reassured by CM about the government’s commitment to enforce the Fee Regulatory Act and said that a section of private professional colleges have only looked for their interest and found a way to challenge in some form in the court.

“Whether it is English-medium schools or professional colleges that impart specialised courses, we will not allow education institutes to become money-making machines. For educational institutes, the welfare of students and imparting of knowledge should be central objectives, instead of making money,” he said. Fadnavis lamented the fact that before British invaded India, India used to have world-class universities such as Nalanda.

Students from various schools and colleges asked many questions to the chief minister on many topics. “Earlier, ashramshalas (residential tribal schools) were the source of education for tribal belts. Now, the government has ensured tribal children are given admissions in best schools in urban and rural districts across state. In last two years, almost 52,000 tribal students have been enrolled in various schools,” said Fadnavis. The CM further added that the government bears the full expenditure of tribal students. The scholarships are provided to Dalit/tribal and other backward class students, who want to pursue professional education in colleges.

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