Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan was in for a pleasant surprise as enthusiastic students from across city colleges questioned him on everything, from education to politics, at Samvaad, a discussion organised by National Students’ Union of India on Tuesday.
Although Chavan was fashionably late to the event held at Ramniranjan Jhunjhunwala College in Ghatkopar (West), the students were as energetic as ever.
Today, not only are the youth politically aware, but they are also socially conscious, and this was clearly visible in the type of questions they posed to the chief minister. Demanding answers on the state of affairs in education, they also asked him how they could play a role in the nation’s development.
Manish Sharma, a student of RJ college, Ghatkopar, asked Chavan: “Through a project I worked on, I found out there are many policies for primary education but they aren’t implemented on the ground level. What is the government doing to ensure that these policies are implemented?”
After initially being thrown off by the question, Chavan admitted that the quality of education in the state is poor and that the government is taking various steps like training teachers as well as raising the qualification bar for aspiring teachers. “There is infrastructure for the schemes to be implemented but it isn’t enough. The change in the quality of education will be seen as the government takes steps to improve it,” he added.
He was also asked about the gap in the scholarship amount sanctioned to students and the amount that actually reaches them.
However, the students’ questions were not limited to education.
An impressed Chavan said, “I think all young people should be politically aware. Not just electoral politics, but politics needs to be understood so that you can guard your interests. Become familiar with the political ideas of the country and do not fall into the trap of short-term politics played for vote banks.”