The population of Bihar is somewhere around 10 crore and there are 250 constituent colleges and 350 affiliated colleges under 13 universities of the state. Total number of boys and girls admitted in these colleges is less than eight lakh. So the thing to be noticed is that gross enrollment ratio of higher education is only 8% which is much less than the national average of about 20% and even below than that of Jharkhand and Rajasthan. If the existing institutions of the Bihar are not made globally competitive, students would continue to migrate to other states. Keeping in mind the population of Bihar state there should have been 50 universities.
The GER is the ratio of students between 18 and 23 years of age enrolled in higher education institutions against the entire population in that age group. The aforesaid data very clearly lay emphasis on the fact that less than 1% of state’s population is enrolled for higher education. As per the released data, it is very difficult to say and give answer to the question that “Will Bihar be able to achieve the national target of raising gross ratio (GER) in higher education to 30% by 2020?” The growth of higher education in Bihar is very sluggish.
As many as 25 districts out of 38 in Bihar are educationally backward. Recently this was proved when RJD chief Lalu Prasad’s son Tej Pratap Yadav fumbled twice while taking oath as the first time MLA minister in Nitish Kumar government in Bihar. Governor Ram Nath Kovind corrected him twice. He uttered the word ‘upekshit’ (neglect) instead of ‘apekshit’ (expectation) thereby turning around the meaning of the sentence. If the views of the educationists are to be believed then Bihar is way behind other states as far as access to higher education is concerned.
Kanhaiya Bahadur Sinha who is the working president of Federation of University Teachers’ Associations of Bihar (Futab) said, “there is an acute shortage of engineering, medical and polytechnic institutions in the state, compelling a vast majority of the youth to migrate to other states.” If Bihar state really wants to attain the national level then 373 general colleges (arts, science and commerce), 236 engineering colleges, 139 medical colleges, 253 education colleges and 163 polytechnics should be set up in the following years.
This is not so that in the recent past central government or the state government of Bihar has not established any Institution. They have established and these institutions though newly established are doing well. But all these institutions are catering to the needs of only a microscopic section of state’s youths. In the 11th Plan the state government had signed MoU with central government for opening 25 model colleges at district level. The recent government move to convert 50 selected colleges into centres of excellence is moving at the speed of tortoise.
Sinha has urged the state government to concentrate on improving the infrastructure of the existing colleges and universities, starting model institutions of higher education and initiating the process of appointment of teachers against vacant posts.