11 universities functioning, 16 waiting in the wings
Shimla: While the central government dithers on reforms in education, the state government here unmoved by the mounting chaos of crowding of institutions is contemplating to open 16 more universities other than the 7 that have already been permitted in two years.
Harping on making the state an educational hub, Ishwar Dass Dhiman, the education minister on the last day of the Vidhad Sabha winter session that concluded at Dharamshala on Saturday let the house know that the government was considering applications for opening 16 new universities.
â€œOver the last two years, the government has granted permission to open 7 new universities, which are located in Sirmaur, Solan, Kangra and Una districts,â€ said Dhiman.
Crying foul, Communist party of India (Marxists) has raised a red flag with Tikender Singh Panwar, CPI(M) member state secretariat, holding out that the party would launch a massive agitation against opening of such private universities to arouse public opinion against them.
â€œCPI(M) will also approach the courts and file a public interest litigation seeking to ban operating of such universities, on the grounds similar to Chattisgarh,â€ said Panwar.
The education minister revealed that a total of 3241 students were admitted into the 7 newly opened universities.
The universities opened recently include, Baddi University of Engineering Science & Technology, Shoolini Biotechnology & Management Science University, Manav Bharti University, Arthi University, Indus International University. Last year Chitkara University in Solan and Baru Sahib University in Sirmaur were granted permission.
Besides them, there are 3 universities in government sector and another one in private sector already functioning. The government universities are Himachal Pradesh University, Horticulture and Forestry University – Solan and Agriculture University â€“ Palampur and the private one is Japyee University of Information Technology at Vakhnaghat in Solan district.
â€œOpening a private university in Himachal has become a joke in the country,â€ says Kaul Singh Thakur, state congress president. The Dhumal government is going about it as if only schools were being opened, he commented.
Sounding cautious a HPU professors without wanting to be identified said, â€œmuch is being discussed about private universities being the future of education in India, but antecedents of those opening them and how they are going to make higher education accessible to bright poor students needs to insured while granting them permission.â€