Bihar considers major changes in higher education

With nearly 58% population below the age of 25 years and out-migration of students for higher education to other states still significantly high, the department of education has embarked on developing a higher education roadmap (2012-2022) on the lines of its agriculture roadmap.

The focus is on expansion with thrust on excellence and equity, besides zero tolerance for corruption and mediocrity.

According to sources, the government has already started working on it, shortlisting 15 constituent colleges to develop them into centres of excellence and also starting community colleges in association with top national institutions for quality vocational training.

To overcome shortage of faculty in colleges for traditional courses, the department is seriously contemplating to work out a transparent mechanism to ensure quality intake. 

"But the greater concern is regarding a plethora of professional courses without any quality check of competent faculty members. As a result, employability is extremely poor," said a senior official.

To address the key issue, the department plans to give preference to NET and CSIR qualified candidates in recruitment as assistant lecturers both in regular courses as well as vocational courses.

The UGC guidelines also give 20 marks weightage to NET and CSIR qualified. With no recruitment in Bihar in the last one decade, and hundreds of candidates clearing the two eligibility tests every year, Bihar expects to have more than enough to recruit from the available lot.

But the bigger question is the mode of appointment. Who will conduct the interviews? At present, the power is vested in the seven member committee in every university, as per the provisions in the two acts governing the universities.

But with the VCs not enjoying the government's confidence, this seems unlikely. Instead, the government wants to get recruitments done through the Bihar Public Service Commission (BPSC), for which it would require amendments to the existing acts.

Sources said, a new bill may be brought in the next session of the state legislature for appointment of lecturers.

Bihar has over 3,493 vacancies in its universities even after rationalization. Before rationalization, the number was calculated at over 5000.

A case regarding this is also in the Patna high court. Principal secretary, higher education, Amarjeet Sinha said the government was seriously contemplating to fill up the vacancies in the best possible manner, strictly as per the UGC guidelines.

"We are also serious about NAAC accreditation. We will give all possible help to accredited institutions," he added. He said, it was important to shed the old mindset at a time when the country is moving towards innovation and vocationalisation.

"In Bihar, we still face huge shortage of competent faculty members for vocational and technical courses, while 78% of the faculty positions are occupied by those teaching traditional courses. In states like Tamil Nadu and Kerala, the scenario is reverse.

"We need to get the balance right with NET qualified faculty members for vocational and technical courses, which have greater employability. We will also encourage colleges to go in for tie ups with institutions line TISS, NUEPA, IIMs or any other," he added.


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