I have a special issue of ‘India Today’ on ‘India’s Best Colleges’ in my hand. The survey covers the colleges teaching arts, commerce, science, law, engineering and medicine. There is not even a single college from Bihar in this list. Should it not be surprising rather shocking as well as shameful for the educationists and intellectuals of Bihar claiming long glorious history of its many reputed and old colleges? Are they all content by sending their children to other metros or abroad? Earlier, the so-called affluent of Bihar made it possible with money from selling the landed property, dowry, or bribes earned in government jobs. Today with the facilities of banks providing the loans, it has become easier to finance the education.
Should they not do something to impress upon the heads of the educational institutes and the government to do something drastically different to improve the situation of higher education in Bihar as a necessity for its people?
With about half of the tenure of the present government gone, how can one be hopeful and confidant that some positive steps are underway to change the situations? With due respect to the heads of the educational institutions such as Patna Science college, Patna University, Patna Medical college, NIT, Patna, and many others in the list, they are the first to be blamed. With all the problems, if a head wishes, if he is dedicated and innovative, he can make his institution outstanding. As I know, even after all the political drags from leftists in West Bengal, Presidency College has remained one of the best institutes, because of the dedicated teachers and the principals. Bihar is what it is, because of the intellectually poor heads and teachers of the educational institutes. Will they take pride in their responsibility, go for a change in their mindset, and bring about a qualitative change for better perception about the education sector of Bihar?
It is high time that Bihar concentrates on adding (in hundreds) and upgrading its educational infrastructure in a big way. Even those who have been sending their children outside the state should hear the bell of warning. There will always be some Raj Thackeray to vomit venom against the people, including students, of Bihar to make the life difficult. But beside that, the practice is drain on the state economy along with some other social cost too. I am not sure, but the total amount of money being spent by the people of Bihar on education of their wards in the educational institutes of the other states must be running in hundred of crores. And the most of it is going to the 2-tier and 3-tier colleges that can easily be established in Bihar. Most of the students go out, because the capacity in the colleges for higher education such as engineering, medical, or even for pure science and humanities, is much less than required. And over the period, the quality and environment for good education in the existing colleges have deteriorated. There might be a solid reason such as low salary of teachers or its untimely payment, or more likely the hooliganism of the student community because of irresponsible guardians. But all that must get changed, if the state is to compete with the other states.
I quote Loknayak Jay Prakash Narayan. “People must avoid dependency on anyone else for their upliftment; once they endeavour to nourish themselves and their state, they will be taken care of.”
The present government has gone some steps ahead to get established the institutes of excellence such as IIT, IIM, IIIT, and Chanakya Law University, beside the revival of Nalanda University. But it must focus on improving the standard of all the existing colleges in the state. The CM must call a meeting of the heads of all the colleges and throw the challenge to excel and compete with the institutions in other states. The heads of the colleges must be encouraged to have tie ups with industrial houses and to involve its alumni. Alumni can contribute to the institutions in many ways. With the increasing demand of IT sector for the students of science and humanities, the institutions must accept the challenge to improve the standard so that its students are employed. Let the teaching community be more pragmatic to meet the requirement from the industry. Along with the basic education, it must focus on the applied side at all levels to make it interesting as well useful.
I wish, I found some colleges of Bihar in the list of ‘India’s Best Colleges’ next year or in year after that.