Alarmed at the lopsided enrolment in technical education, HRD minister Arjun Singh has urged 12 state governments to initiate “urgent” policies to improve intake for them to come at par with the national average.
In a review of availability of seats in degree and diploma level technical education courses, the HRD ministry has identified 12 states where the seats available in the two streams was less than the national average —68 for degree and 31 for diploma courses per one lakh population.
While the southern states cross the national average, the blot are mostly the northern states of Bihar, Assam, Jharkhand, West Bengal, Himachal Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Jammu and Kashmir, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chattisgarh and Orissa. The lowest intake of three students for per lakh population in degree courses is in Bihar.
The low technical education seats has prompted Singh to write a letter to Chief Ministers of these states suggesting six corrective steps to improve the number of technical education seats and allow the youth to “adequately benefit” from the opportunities available due to fast-growing economy.
The HRD minister has asked the states to open new educational institutions, especially in backward districts, and to increase intake of the existing institutions. He also wanted that the states should open new branches and courses in the emerging areas.
Indicating that private parties should be encouraged to open new institutes, Singh said, the governments could think of giving them financial incentives. However, he made it clear that these institutes should be run on “non commercial lines” and should deliver good quality education. Singh also said that the states should run programmes to improve quality of technical education and expansion of secondary education.
The ministry has also asked the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE) to take special steps to promote expansion of technical education and open a special cell to facilitate applications for new institutes from these 12 states.