Education drive

Print edition : March 13, 2009

Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda after laying the foundation stone of the Deenbandhu Chhotu Ram University of Science and Technology at Murthal in Sonipat on December 23, 2006.-AKHILESH KUMAR

EDUCATION is one of the priority areas for the Congress government headed by Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Haryana in its efforts to take the State to the number one position in terms of development and progress.

In fact, the focus is on qualitative and quantitative changes in education, especially higher education, to make it accessible and inclusive.

In the Budget Estimates for 2009-2010, presented in the State Assembly on February 13, the State government allocated Rs.1,265.53 crore and Rs.3,858.52 crore respectively on the Plan and non-Plan sides for Education. The Rajiv Gandhi Education City coming up at Kundli near Sonipat is the brainchild of Hooda, who has envisaged it as a hub for higher learning and a centre for research in cutting-edge technologies.

According to senior officers in the administration, the cutting-edge technologies will be in the fields of nanotechnology, biotechnology, genetics, avionics, information technology, artificial intelligence, environmental sciences and geospatial technologies, management and finance, defence research and film and media, to name a few.

In phase one of the project, 2,007 acres (1 acre is 0.4 hectare) of land has been acquired, and the process of acquiring more land for phase two is in progress.

The Rajiv Gandhi Education City is proposed to be built on seven layers of intervention central lake, public/semi-public educational amenity centre, mixed commercial area, housing amenities and green areas, housing, educational institutions and education-linked knowledge industry.

Common educational infrastructure will bind the different educational campuses in the city, obviating the need for these facilities on each campus. The common use will also ensure a synergy between the diverse inhabitants of the education city, D.S. Dhesi, Town and Country Planning Commissioner, told Frontline.

The media centre and the related communication tower will form the centrepiece of the architectural composition of the city centre. A fully optic fibre-wired campus, museums showcasing Haryana and lndias urban heritage, an international convention centre and an international universities centre will be some of the other salient features. Dhesi said the education city was being designed on five pillars of strength people, research, trade and technology, transition and globalism.

Describing these initiatives as a bid to establish Haryana as Indias show window for higher technical education, the State government has urged the Centre to set up an Indian Institute of Management (IIM) in the proposed City.

Chief Minister Hooda said: Once the Rajiv Gandhi Education City is in place with world class universities and other educational institutions, education will never be the same for Haryana students, nay, for students across India.

The State government has opened new government colleges at Kaithal, Birohar, Mandi Dabwali, Julana and government colleges for women at Panchkula, Tosham, Rewari and Lakhan Majra, to mention a few. Job-oriented courses have been started in 26 government colleges. There are 554 non-government colleges in the State, including 419 B.Ed. colleges, 11 law colleges, two physical studies and sports science colleges and 122 degree colleges.

According to a senior officer of the Education Department, private-aided colleges have been permitted to start new courses in science, commerce and other job-oriented subjects.

The Hooda government has from the outset favoured the setting up of private universities in the State. The State has received nine applications to set up private universities under the Haryana Private Universities Act, 2006. The government has decided to establish a regional campus of the Hyderabad-based English and Foreign Languages University (EFLU) at Meham. For this, 50 acres of land is being purchased by the Higher Education Department, which will be given on 99 years lease to the EFLU.

Finance Minister Birender Singh said in his Budget speech in the Assembly: A lot more remains to be done for improving the quality of education at all levels, including primary, secondary and higher education. He added that the quality and commitment of teachers remained an area of concern. Teaching methodologies and course curriculum at all levels need to be upgraded. Our universities, colleges and technical education institutions have to adopt the best international practices. It is only through continual, dedicated and vigorous efforts that we can create assets in human resources capable of meeting the challenges of the future. This government renews its commitment to work wholeheartedly in this direction.

The State government is committed to starting comprehensive computer education in government schools and colleges in a phased manner, under which certificate courses will also be offered to the students. A mechanism will be worked out to standardise the certificate courses being offered by various agencies in this field. This will insulate the young generation from exploitation by unscrupulous and inferior service providers in privately operated institutions while ensuring quality, the Finance Minister said in the Assembly.

Concerned about the declining number of students opting for the science stream, the government has decided to go in for a holistic action plan to motivate the young generation to take up science in a big way.

The endeavour is to ensure that universities are well equipped to conduct research in the emerging areas of science, develop expertise and produce trained manpower. Therefore, a new scheme, aimed at promoting scientific research, training and education, is proposed to be launched by the Department of Science and Technology. Under this scheme, common research facilities will be set up in universities and other institutions for use by all interested parties.

The government is also focussing on technical education as technically and professionally trained manpower is the need of the hour, especially in the global context. As against six polytechnics and one engineering college in the State when it was formed in 1966, today Haryana has 428 institutes imparting professional education, besides 108 industrial training institutes (ITIs), including 31 exclusively for women, and seven teacher training centres. During the current financial year, the construction of five more government polytechnics have been taken up, and eight polytechnics are being expanded. The intake capacity of government colleges has increased from 10,500 to 15,000 and pre-engineering courses are being offered in 11 engineering colleges. There is a proposal to open 28 new ITIs and to expand 22 of them in the next three years.

The Centre has decided to establish an IIM in Rohtak district, and admissions are likely to be offered from the next academic session, a senior officer said.

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