Pune: Opposition Begins Against Deccan Education Society (DES) Move To Bring Outsiders In Management

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Pune, 12th August 2021: A retired Life Member and other like-minded life members of Deccan Education Society (DES) who have dedicated over 20 years of their life to DES have sent a legal notice to the Council and Governing body of DES, to stop the move to bring outsiders in the management or face legal action. They have also started a campaign ‘Save DES, save Education‘ to garner support.

Deccan Education Society was registered in 1885, during the British Raj, with the idea of providing education to rouse the intellect, drooping will and slumbering conscience of the fallen countrymen. It was established by Lokmanya Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Vishnushastri Chiplunkar, Prin. Vaman Shivram Apte and Mahadeo Ballal Namjoshi.

Today, the Deccan Education Society is a dynamic conglomeration of well over 45 educational institutions including the famous Fergusson College and Brihan Maharashtra College of Commerce (BMCC). The DES institutions – at Pune, Mumbai, Sangli, Satara and Wai range from pre-primary schools to post-graduate and research institutions.

The opposition about the new move began at the special general meeting of DES which was held on July 17, 2021, which was chaired by Shrimant Chhatrapati Shri Shahu Maharaj of Kolhapur. Dr Ashutosh Prabhudas Bhupatkar, a former life member of DES, has sent the notice through Advocate Satya Muley. Bhupatkar had objected to the meeting.

The notice states, “DES institutions have achieved over the last century a reputation for high academic standards through education imparted at affordable costs. This was the result of Teachers managing the institutions as Life Members. Teacher management ensured an open atmosphere conducive to the sincere pursuit of learning and knowledge.

It is now sought to be changed by wresting the initiative from Teachers and giving it to outsiders from politics, industry and business. The device being used is Amendment to the Rules and Regulations which facilitates entry of outsiders into the Management. Earlier the number of non-teacher members from Fellows and Patrons was always equal to the number of Teachers who pledged 20 years of service to DES. Now the non-teacher members strength can rise without limit and they can restrict the number of teacher members by using their powers”, the notice states.

The notice further states, “DES is primarily a teacher managed society. The origin, growth and success of DES is owing to this basic character of DES. The proposed amendment intends to change this basic character of the DES forever and give its managing control to external elements which may include politicians, businessmen, etc. Such change will lead to DES becoming another commercial educational institution.

Late Bal Gangadhar Tilak, Vhishnu Shastri Chiplunkar, Gopal Ganesh Agarkar, Mahadeo Ballal Namjoshi are the founders of DES. All the founders along with Sir William Wedderburn had cast the current set of rules and regulations which envisaged the philosophy of teacher managed institution.

The concept of council which consists of a) All the life members of the Society b) Equal number of members elected by Fellows and Patrons, ensured that all the decisions ad DES were taken by discussion and consensus. With the proposed change the life members who are all from the teaching fraternity and who have taken the pledge to serve the DES for 20 years of their life, shall be rendered as a minority in the council. This will mean the basic structure of management will be tampered with and the decision-making process at DES will be taken out of the hands of the teaching fraternity and given in the hands of external elements. Such a change will vitiate the process of management, and governance at DES and shall be completely against the philosophy of the founders of DES.”

Note: This report will be updated after getting comments from DES.

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