Chief Minister Anandiben Patel on Sunday asked universities to coordinate their research activities with the state government and said that the government will circulate a list of subjects among colleges and universities for conducting doctoral research.
“In the entire world, universities do research on what new should be done in their respective state or country. They do research on what new needs to be done in next five to 10 years in areas of education, health, agriculture etc. They study (practices) in the entire world and prepare projects. They submit such projects to their governments. After perusing such projects, governments design curricula and allocate budgets. Universities guide governments. But here, the current is reversed. There is no coordination at all between government and research activities,” Patel said while addressing a public meeting.
The CM was speaking after inaugurating Bhakt Kavi Narsinh Mehta University, Junagadh. This is the 15th university of the state government and 55th overall in Gujarat. The CM also dedicated to public new building of Government Polytechnic near Junagadh city which has been constructed at the cost of Rs45 crore.
Patel, who herself was a teacher and served as education minister of the state for years before becoming the CM, cited an example of the earthquake in Kutch district in 2001. She said that after working for five years in rehabilitating victims of the earthquake in Kutch, then Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi exhorted universities to take up studies of these rehabilitation efforts. He asked universities to study how water infrastructure was rebuilt, power lines had been restored, how houses and schools were reconstructed and submit reports to state government. However, only a couple of universities took up research projects on this, she said.
“Had universities, studied the phenomenon, the state government would have been in a position to address any shortcomings in rehabilitation and propagation of success stories as case studies for other states and countries,” Patel explained.
However, the CM hinted that universities will now have to be more responsive and will have to explore certain subjects suggested by the government. She said that state government runs scores of schemes and that she wants studies and feedback on schemes like Doodh Sanjivani Yojna of providing milk to children to improve their health, Garib Kalyan Melas and drip irrigation system.
“I have asked (education) department to draw a list of 15 to 20 subjects, circulate it among colleges and universities and instruct them that your students will have to choose one of those subjects for their doctoral research. After the research is over, they will have to submit a project report to us,” said the CM.
Patel also called upon teachers to upgrade their skills for improving the quality of education.
“There is a need for skill development. Merely having a degree of BA (Bachelor of Arts) will not do as this is an age of technology. Therefore, I have suggested that skill development classes should be held in schools and colleges. We have launched a scheme to provide computers in primary schools up to colleges. But we cannot afford to hire new teachers. Therefore, a primary teacher teaching Gujarati will have to train students in using a computer and a college lecturer teaching economics will have to be prepared to teach his students accounting also,” the CM said.
Patel added that ministers had held several meeting on these matters and that state government will come up with new guidelines for schools, colleges and universities in a few months. She further added that colleges and universities will have to submit a calendar to the state government outlining activities besides routine teaching for making students competitive.