EDUCATION: Assam pushes for better education – Varsities to move Centre for funds – while Darjeeling languishes under Bengal ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH
BY DAULAT RAHMAN
Guwahati, Oct. 20: The universities of Assam have decided to jointly put pressure on New Delhi to allocate a huge quantum of funds for the balanced development of all these institutions and the advancement of higher education in the state.
Sources said the consortium, a joint platform of all universities in the state including IIT Guwahati, has already sent proposals to the human resource development (HRD) ministry to enable them to offer affordable quality education, fight the onslaught of rapid globalisation by introducing new courses and privatisation of higher education.
The consortium, a brainchild of Governor J.B. Patnaik who is the chancellor of all these universities, was constituted in May through official notification to share knowledge, expertise, academic collaborations and solve common problems of the universities.
“Barring the two central universities at Tezpur and Silchar, the other universities in the state are facing severe financial crisis, resulting in poor infrastructure and academic facilities. A funds crunch also prevents these universities from introducing modern and job-oriented courses. During its meetings held over the past few months, the consortium observed that the situation could not be allowed to continue as students were being deprived of pursuing quality higher education,” the source said.
The consortium observed that with private universities coming up in the state, the existing ones may face the threat of “extinction” if the government did not give them financial support.
An official of the state government associated with the formation of the consortium said a high-level delegation of vice-chancellors of all the universities and the director of IIT Guwahati would leave for New Delhi next month to meet Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and HRD minister Kapil Sibal. They will urge Sibal to ensure uninterrupted flow of funds to the universities.
The consortium has also chalked out a road map for futuristic development of the universities and is now working on creating a comprehensive database of all the universities, the official added.
“Once the database is ready, the consortium will be able to know the strengths, weaknesses and the potential of every university and the institutions can work together to help each other. For example, Tezpur University, which has IT infrastructure on a par with top-of-the-line institutions in the country, can collaborate with Gauhati and Dibrugarh universities, which do not have adequate IT facilities, on IT education,” he explained.
The database will also help the consortium to know the manpower and faculty strength of the universities. This will help them introduce modern courses without bothering much about the availability of manpower. A faculty member of one university can help another university, which is a member of the consortium, to introduce different courses.
The consortium will also organise events like student exchange programme, seminars and workshops to share knowledge and expertise.
It is already planning an inter-university sports meet at Assam University in Silchar in December.
Framework for job training in schools – pure lack of initiative ?!!
FROM THE TELEGRAPH SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Oct 20, 2010: Delhi is set to constitute a “national vocational education framework” within a year to equip students from Class VIII onwards with job skills, Union human resource development minister Kapil Sibal announced in the city on Wednesday.
Sibal was speaking at the Higher Education Conclave 2010 organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce on “Industry Academe Partnership — Dynamic Alliance to Facilitate Change”.
He said once the new framework was in place the Central Board of Secondary Education would introduce subjects such as carpentry and refrigeration and offer degrees. “For instance, Bengal can focus on a course in leather technology to provide skilled manpower for the tanneries around the city just as Assam can introduce tea cultivation as a subject.”
Students will be able to study these subjects from Class VIII onwards along with the conventional curriculum. The vocational subjects will be offered at 10 levels with a certificate each for completing every level.
After completing the first four levels, students will be offered a degree in that subject equivalent to a Class XII pass certificate. The tenth level certificate will be equivalent to a postgraduate degree.
Explaining the need for the framework, the minister said Delhi had set itself a target to increase the gross enrolment ratio in higher education from 12.4 to 30 per cent within 2020.
Even after the ratio increases there will be nearly 150 million children who might not be able to pursue conventional or professional courses in higher education. “We need to evolve a national policy on vocational education for these students who will not be able to go for higher education,” said Sibal.
The minister rued the lack of initiative to strengthen the industry-university partnership. He called for more private participation in higher education, saying that once the gross enrolment ratio in higher education was raised to 30 per cent, the country would need nearly 800 more universities and 40,000 additional colleges.
“How many of you have gone to the universities and given them suggestions?” Sibal asked the industry representatives present at the conclave.
Nobody raised a hand.