June 10, 2016 4:03:46 am
Continuous “upgradation of infrastructure” and making courses “job-oriented”: these are the two tenets on which education in West Bengal is being planned, said minister Partha Chatterjee while stressing that the government was looking to work towards strengthening the existing education infrastructure and planning to set up a monitoring team to oversee private institutes and universities.
“Education must be job-oriented and there should be continuous upgradation of infrastructure. Standard of education should never be compromised,” state higher education minister Partha Chatterjee said Thursday while inaugurating the ‘Education Exhibition – 2016’, organised by Association of Professional Academic Institutions (APAI) here as part of a pre-counselling programme for e-admission of engineering students.
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The minister’s comments take into context the state’s literacy rate, which, as per 2011 Census, stands at 77.08% – above the national average of 74.04% and placing the state 13th in the country’s ranking. What runs parallel to this, though, is West Bengal’s high unemployment rate compared to other states in the country. In 2014, citing the state’s Annual Employment-Unemployment Survey report, the ruling Trinamool Congress had claimed a “fall” in the unemployment rate – from 74 to 52 per 1,000 in labour force, placing the state at number 12 in the country. While this was an improvement from data collected in 2011-12, when the state ranked 28 overall, party leaders continue to stress, “Employment is the biggest issue facing the state. Bengal has always been educated, but the youth have been unable to find jobs.”
Alongside dearth of jobs and growing number of individuals entering the workforce, the state also saw an increase in the number of private institutes coming up. Referring to this, Chatterjee said that the state government is planning to set up a monitoring team which will oversee these institutes to ensure that the “standard of education is never compromised”. He also urged the All India Council of Technical Education to keep tab on such institutes to ensure the norms set by it are not flouted.
Chatterjee said that engineering and technical institutes should work towards ensuring jobs to students. He also asked institutes to ensure that poor and meritorious students were given “priority” in providing education.
Chatterjee, while claiming that Bengal has several prospects for technical and higher education, urged students against moving out of the state.
Regarding admission to BA, BSc and BCom courses in the colleges in the state, Chatterjee said the government was “strengthening the online admission system”. State IT Minister Bratya Basu stressed that there is a need for technocrats and IT professionals to come forward and participate in the state’s “growing market”. Stating that technical education has gone through a “sea-change” in Bengal, Basu hoped a large number of students coming out of these institutes will be able to meet the growing needs of the industry.
State Technical Education Minister Ashima Patra said the state government was keen on further developing technical education in the state. She said more government engineering colleges have been set up this year, she said. Techno’s India group director Satyam Roy Chowdhury announced that 1,000 poor and meritorious students from weaker sections would be offered free admission in colleges under its corporate social responsibility (CSR) effort.
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