Education Minister Partha Chatterjee on Saturday said that the West Bengal government has set up a committee to restructure the state syllabus, in order to to incorporate the needs of various industries and increase the employability of graduates.
“The syllabus must now be interactive. There has to be something in the curriculum which gives our students an edge in the job market. Most students leave the state to study elsewhere. We have to stop our students from going to other states, other cities, other countries to get an excellent education, especially in higher studies,’’ he said, addressing the education seminar organized by the Calcutta Chamber of Commerce. Partha invited industries to share feedback and contribute to the committee’s findings and recommendations.
“Hopefully the committee will come back quickly with their suggestions, so that we can implement a new syllabus as soon as possible,’’ he said.
Addressing the Jadavpur University and Calcutta University vice-chancellors and the Director of IST Shivpur, who were present at the seminar, Partha urged them to not “bow their heads to unrealistic demands”, alluding to the recent spate of protests and unrest at some institutes.
The minister said that the state government, under the leadership of Mamata Bannerjee, had pushed for the expansion of education and education institutes in the state.
“In the past five years, we have established 15 new universities and 46 colleges, out of which 32 are government colleges, and two are engineering colleges. We have added 4,000 primary schools, 2,500 higher primary schools and 3,000 higher secondary schools. We have given 46 colleges the right to teach postgraduate courses. As many as 40,000 classrooms have been added,’’ Partha said.
The education minister said that the government had been trying to bring parity between the genders by pushing education for girls through the Kanyashree, Sabuj Shathi and Juboshree schemes. Student admissions had gone up from 11.5 per cent five years ago, to 18 per cent now. The all-India admission average is 21 per cent he said, adding that the aim was to achieve 30 per cent student admissions this term.
The minister said that the government had created 4.5 lakh seats in state undergraduate and engineering programmes. The Vivekananda scholarship, which covers a child’s education from school till graduation, had also been increased from Rs 45 crore to Rs 200 crore this year. However, he said that the ultimate responsibility would lie with the institutes and teachers.
“I consistently get reports that teachers are not taking their assigned classes. This is in both schools as well as colleges and universities. I get reports that classes are given out to proxy teachers while the employed teacher has a second job or business. This needs to stop. The government is committed to improving education, but how can we ensure this if teachers do not take responsibility?” said the minister.
He further added that schools were currently being identified for the virtual classes project, which was announced earlier in this year’s budget.