From two-wheelers to laptops and wi-fi in colleges and universities, promises have been raining for the youth in poll-struck Bihar. But voters in the 18-29 age bracket – numbering 2.05 crore or 32.97% of the total electorate – want an overhaul of an education system that churns out ‘drained brains’ holding worthless degrees.
While the quality of school education is moderate, higher education in Bihar is in a shambles primarily due to a freeze on appointment of teachers for 13 years now. Consequently, colleges in Bihar have up to 715 students per teacher. Patna University that lords over seven degree colleges, functions at 35-40% of their sanctioned faculty size.
Most colleges have no teachers for key departments such as economics, mathematics and psychology. But students who ‘attend’ these classes usually get the best marks. “Our academic year means filling up two forms – one for admission and the other for exams – with no classes in between,” says Tinku Kumar, 24, a psychology student of GD College in Begusarai.
Principal Tapan Shandilya says he is helpless. “Restricting admission is tough due to endless pressure and agitation, as it is the only college offering PG for students from nearby districts.” The situation is no better in adjacent Samastipur district. “Our degrees are only on paper, worth nothing for employers. We know that we know nothing, as we never attended classes. This is why the more affluent students go to Delhi or Pune or Bengaluru,” said Govind Kumar, a PG student.