City stu­dents chalk out agenda for the new state govern­ment

The doc­u­ment, which ad­dresses is­sues of in­fra­struc­ture, ed­u­ca­tion, ur­ban en­ter­tain­ment and crime con­trol, will be pre­sented to the chief min­is­ter

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - - HTEDUCATIO­N - Shradha Sha­hani

The city goes to polls to­day and amidst weeks of ag­gres­sive political cam­paign­ing, a stu­dent or­gan­i­sa­tion, Op­er­a­tion Black Dot, has been for­mu­lat­ing a youth man­i­festo to present to Ma­ha­rash­tra’s fu­ture chief min­is­ter.

Based on re­sponses from 2,000 stu­dents across Mum­bai’s col­leges, the man­i­festo will high­light rec­om­men­da­tions on the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, in­fra­struc­ture, eco­nomic poli­cies and crime con­trol.

“We of­ten dis­tance our­selves from pol­i­tics and rant about the dis­or­gan­ised ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem in In­dia,” says Aakan­sha Kedia, 21, a KC Col­lege grad­u­ate and volunteer with Op­er­a­tion Black Dot (OBD), which was formed ahead of the gen­eral elec­tions and works to make the youth more po­lit­i­cally ac­tive. “The larger ques­tion is, what are we do­ing about it?”

The sur­vey asked stu­dents to com­ment on is­sues such as the state ed­u­ca­tion pol­icy, project clear­ances and de­lays, ex­pense man­age­ment by the govern­ment, ap­point­ment of con­trac­tors and need for a com­put­erised FIR sys­tem. Based on the find­ings, 100 OBD vol­un­teers are work­ing on putting the man­i­festo to­gether.

“The sur­vey find­ings are very in­ter­est­ing,” says Natalie Bansal, 21, a KC Col­lege grad­u­ate and an OBD volunteer work­ing on the man­i­festo. “In­stead of petty is­sues such as poor nightlife, the stu­dents had larger con­cerns about the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, in­ad­e­quate in­fra­struc­ture and open spa­ces.”

With re­spect to the ed­u­ca­tion sys­tem, stu­dents are of the opin­ion that more prac­ti­cal learn­ing needs to be in­te­grated.

“The board ex­am­i­na­tion for­mat we fol­low em­pha­sises the length of an­swers, in­stead of the qual­ity of con­tent. We need to learn through case stud­ies, not text books,” says Yash Chandi­ra­mani, 22, a busi­ness man­age­ment stu­dent at Jai Hind Col­lege.

In ad­di­tion to cre­at­ing their own man­i­festo, the OBD team has an­a­lysed prom­ises made by ma­jor political par­ties, es­pe­cially with re­spect to the youth.

“The main ob­jec­tive is to make peo­ple aware of the prom­ises made by dif­fer­ent par­ties,” says Samyak Chakrabart­hy, 25, founder of OBD and chief youth mar­keter at DDB Mu­dra Group. “We want stu­dents to make an in­formed de­ci­sion.” OBD col­lated this in­for­ma­tion by speak­ing to par­ties di­rectly, and from the news.

OBD’S youth man­i­festo ad­dresses prob­lems of pub­lic in­fra­struc­ture, ur­ban en­ter­tain­ment, e-gov­er­nance, govern­ment-cit­i­zen in­ter­ac­tion and ed­u­ca­tion, among oth­ers.

A file photo of a voter reg­is­tra­tion drive at Ram­narain Ruia Col­lege, Matunga, con­ducted by Op­er­a­tion Black Dot, ahead of the gen­eral elec­tions.

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