It has been rightly said that excess of everything is bad, but authorities seem to learn no lessons from this proverb when it comes to giving nod to new Bachelor of Education (BEd) colleges.
According to a source, Punjab is home to 186 BEd colleges with 28,000 seats in all, of which only 12,572 are filled. However, the government is still giving nod to more such colleges.
On an average, a new BEd college opens every month, after getting affiliated with the leading universities of the state. There were 282 applications lying with the government awaiting nod for opening BEd colleges.
"The prevailing scenario hardly brings any constructive or quality results. Colleges were limited and offered quality till 2005 but after that many more colleges mushroomed up. This has also brought the quality of education down," said Gagandeep Kaur, a BEd teacher from one of the colleges in Punjab.
She said that in most colleges attendance was not obligatory and students came only during exams. Secondly, she said, students with marks as low as 50% get admission easily.
Dr JA Khan, dean college development council, Punjabi University, Patiala, agreed that Punjab was home to many BEd colleges. "We want that BEd College should open in each and every nook of the state so that students do not have to travel far away from their homes.
For the same reason, we are not discouraging the opening of new colleges. We do have some applications for more colleges but we will only approve those applications that fulfill all the norms and rules set by us. We will ensure that no second college gets opened in the same city".
When pointed out that existing colleges were not able to fill the seats, he said that they were seized of the matter.
However, Satinder Kaur Dhillon, chairman of self-financed colleges of education, argued that it was unfair to give nod to more colleges when the exisiting colleges were not able to fill all the seats. She said that no one bothered to keep an eye on the quality of education being imparted in these colleges. "Haryana has taken a sensible decision to stop the opening of more colleges and we should follow suit. There are only a few colleges which are following the norms honestly."
SP Bansal, president of federation of self-financed colleges, said that the government needed to immediately put a freeze on opening up of new colleges. He said that the authorities needed to now concentrate on ensuring quality education in the existing colleges.
Robin Sachdeva, the legal adviser to self-financed colleges, shared with HT that a meeting between the office-bearers of Federation of Self Financed Colleges of Education Punjab and officials of department of higher education, under the chairmanship of principal secretary of higher education, had taken place in 2012, in which it was discussed that new colleges should be discouraged.