Bihar: Higher Education

Bihar after separation of JHARKHAND didn’t loose much on higher education. Most of the reputed colleges and universities are still in Bihar. However, the reputed ones of yester years have lost its glory over the years. Media, as such, hardly cover the educational institutes sufficiently. One hardly find the names of the Bihar’s colleges teaching arts, science, commerce, engineering, medicines, law or management in the ranking lists that ‘India Today’ or ‘Outlook’ normally publish at least once in year to guide the parents and prospective students to select the best of the colleges. I kept on looking for it every time such copy came in my hands.

Why should not the colleges of Patna such as Science College, BNCollege or for that matter, Patna Women College be looked with the same respect and pride as the colleges of Delhi by the students and even employers? Can the Nitish government do something for bringing back the respectability and glory of the old colleges of Patna? Can the government allocate sufficient fund and encourage them to create endowment fund with contribution from alumni and philanthropists? Can the professors be made more accountable and the good ones are given motivational awards and recognition? Perhaps, with the type of stuffs on roll as teachers and the poor interactions between the chief minister and the Chancellor i.e. the governor, it will be difficult.

The revolutionary emergence of private institutes of management, engineering or medicine that happened in southern, western and now even the central and northern India, bypassed Bihar. I was surprised the other day when Sonu called me from Dumraon, Bihar. He is teaching in a private engineering college there. Very lately, some few private engineering colleges and management schools have come up in Bihar. However, during Nitish era, five institutes of importance- IIT, BIT, AIIMS came to and got started in and around Patna. Two other institutes that can make the difference- Chanakya Law University and Chandragupta School of Management became operative again in Patna.

However, I am more concerned about the colleges that teach general subjects. And the government and particularly the chief minister and the education minister must come out with some time-bound solutions of the hurdles in making these colleges respectable academically.

I am amazed to learn that around eight lakh students have appeared for the intermediate examination this year. With high percentage of success these days, some five lakh boys and girls will look for higher education in the colleges. I don’t know the capacity in the 816 colleges of Bihar (I have picked up the figure from a report in Times of India. I don’t know if the number is right and if the number has taken care of the minimum infrastructure required for a good college). I don’t know the number of the candidates who will like to get admitted in those colleges. As I know, most who can afford will send their children to the institutes outside the states. I am also unaware of the total outflow of money every year to different states because of the paucity of good colleges in the state. Many of these youngsters do well but quite a few just drain out the money from the parents or family heads in rural Bihar and return after wasting few years. Can Bihar government or some NGO start an effective and honest counseling for the young men and women along with the parents going outside for studies?

I wish Bihar government promotes the concept of Science and Technology City where a cluster of institutes come up under a model ambiance. The cluster can have facilities such as higher secondary schools, science colleges, engineering and medical colleges with an institute of R&D in different areas. The cluster must be made free for the students from all parts of the country. Someone like Madan Mohan Malviya must pioneer the idea of making Bihar known in the field of education.

Bihar can’t flourish with mere GDP. It must do away with some poor traits that have come to be associated with Bihar. And on that line, Bihar has not changed.

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