Shiv Sena president Uddhav Thackeray on Thursday promised to provide tablet computers to students, television sets for schools and to reduce the workload of teachers in government educational institutions.
The promises are part of the vision document for the development of state that the party unveiled a month ago, ahead of the state assembly elections due next month.
"We will take this revolutionary step once our government comes to power...," Thackeray told a news conference on the eve of Teachers' Day. "Some political parties announce freebies like TVs, refrigerators and ACs for voters, but we will give you the strength to purchase them through education."
The tablet PCs, with audio-visual learning aids in micro SD cards, would be given free of cost to students from standard VIII to X in civic and zilla parishad schools.
Schools and ashramshalas in rural areas would be given television sets with a kit of aids to educate children that will be a support for teachers.
The party chief explained that these gadgets would be loaded with books about the independence movement and icons who led the Indian renaissance. "I will take education to the boys and girls who have been unable to take up education due to adverse conditions," he said.
Students living in rural areas where power supply is restricted would receive solar chargers. Thackeray also promised to reduce the burden of non-educational work on teachers in government schools, like census and election-related work as well as vaccination drives.
"I will ensure that this is done," he said. This e-learning scheme, to be called e-Prabodhan, is aimed at also reducing the burden of school bags that students carry daily
Asked about the debate over the telecast of prime minister Narendra Modi's address on Teachers' Day, Thackeray said: "I feel there is no question of compulsion, but it should reach those for whom it is intended."
Thackeray is being projected by the Shiv Sena as the chief ministerial candidate even as his party is locked in a struggle with its alliance partner the BJP over the number of seats that each of them will contest in the forthcoming polls.
The Shiv Sena chief did not answer a question about when a joint vision document with the BJP would be released.