Short on funds, private universities a necessity – Himachal Education Minister

Shimla: Firefighting allegations about promoting private universities over public ones, the government on Tuesday called it a necessity to meet the aspirations of those aspiring for university education as the government was incapable of setting up more institutions of higher learning.

Education minister Ishwar Dass Dhiman at a meet the press program said that of the 19 private universities that had been given letter of intent, 11 had been set up. He added that there was scope for more but priority was Chamba, Mandi and Kullu districts where no private university had been sanctioned

Fending opposition charges about providing government land to these private institutions, he said, “no government land had been given to any of the private universities but the congress party is indulging in a misinformation campaign which was harming the new institutions and the students who had enrolled in them.”

He said that states gross enrollment ratio (GER) in colleges and universities was 18%, which was higher than the national level of 12%, but the target was to increase it to 25% by 2016-17.

The government is already using 19% of its budget for education and to keep the Himachal Pradesh University (HPU) functional an annual grant of about Rs 50 crore was being provided.

“For the about 3300 students enrolled at HPU it worked out to about Rs 1.5 lakh per student funding from the public exchequer to provide opportunities of higher education. To increase GER and at this cost it is not possible for the government achieve the targets and private sector has to be encouraged, said the education minister.

He said the 11 private universities that had set up campuses in the state, in a short span had enrolled 5865 students for the current session and had provided employment to 2044 persons.

All the private universities had been established under an act of the state assembly, said the education minister while emphasizing that the course degree’s being handed by these institutions had country wide validation.

To maintain standards of education and regulate administrative systems, an education regulatory commission would soon come into being, said Dhiman.

As Editor, Ravinder Makhaik leads a team of media professionals at Hill Post. Spanning a career of over two decades in mass communication, as a Documentary Filmmaker, TV journalist, Print Media journalist and with Online & Social Media, he brings with him a vast experience. He lives in Shimla.

8 Comments

  • Private universities are due to the increasing demand of professional degrees in private sectors. HPU which is still consider as B grade university at national level cant meet this demand. Government has taken this needful decision but they must also insure for foul proof governance of these universities. Maximum of universities still don’t meet criteria like infrastructure,good faculty and affordable fees structure.

  • Not just fiscal deficit, but also the moral and intellectual bankrupcy of bureaucrats, teaching class and the society at large have ushered this disaster to the poor and middle class children who will soon opt out of this unaffordable education system. If there is unemployment and anarchy ahead in the days to come, the State has deservingly earned it.

  • When there were jobs in H.P., youth of Himachal spent hefty amount on procuring degrees from other states. When there are no job opportunities in H.P. we have invited external enterprise to capture and exploit our resources right here. Students may procure degrees at home but will they be able to get the faculty standard and exposure level of a city which happens to be the final destination for employment in the current scenario.

  • Universities are good in numbers but you need to know in which sector they are teaching.
    Are they teaching economics ,arts ,business, journalism,photography,science ,culture ,music sports equally with engineering. IT and medical or merely making money? More diverse they teach more they will educate our state and more independent would be our youth in all domains.Afterall there is Delhi university in capital Region who educate in this way why can not be? Industry and Education balance both are significant, having abundant resources in state still youth is unemployed at its worse.
    Ideas could be thousands to educate, develop himachal. 100 of scenic places tourism point of view,1500 crore rupee apple ,100 kind of raw material,rich of art i.e. Kullu Shawls,Chamba Rumal many more, Rich heritage culture Yet more thing need to commercialize.We need more private entrepreneurs to drive the place. Promoting small scale industries generating employment using local resources .Just want to say in Hamirpur no Apple, but can try with Mango,mushrooms,education,IHM,NIT n all. One can think about the future of ITES/IT and get more educated as it is well connected with old and new himachal and in the center .In Kangra district can permote beekeeping and tourism till its border dhauldhar ranges Barot Valley etc.,In Chamba parallely heritage Chamba Rumal ,handicraft n all.Kullu manali,world famous kullu shawls as well as tourism in valley.Upper Shimla has enough potential to generate more revenue from tourism plus Apple. Also we have got outstanding Aqauaculture,we are blessed with one of the world best breed Trout Fish. Need to resurrect Micro economics concepts. An Individual monopoly would not be appreciated but every one should posses strong potential to become independent enterprenuer.The way how Newzeland is doing being a hill region.
    90% are not Aware with the Prdanmantri Rozgar yojna,Khadi village udhyog yojna n all.We need someone there who can share these policies with the farmers who never got a chance to see the world the way can and many of them having no luck to start their own venture. We have Kissan help number works as call center but don’t know how many of them know abt it.In Una the swan valley which is doing great in terms of generating vegetables n came to know that it supply vegetable till Indian Army,amazing potential .The Platform to educate all our folks is Our fairs.Kulu Mela,Mandi shivrati fair,Sujanpur holi mela,Rampur mela abt whom govermnet boast about Internatinal fair of himachal but don’t know how they helping our villagers to keep them in track with the latest knowledge,tools or equipment by which they will get what they aspire in their life.Government can engage scientist in HPKV,IHBT Palampur ,CPRI,YS Parmar etc. with formers to educate them. There are world class scientist.Everyone say himachal is mini Switzerland but nobody cared about it why it is not Switzerland.

    Basic education +state resource +farmer +small idea+big idea+ small player +big player+people+NGO+MH+x+y+z +Mini Switzerland= Switzerland=Himachal

    What do you think is all this enough to go ahead????????????

    No, by doing all this still you would be in same position.

    Retardation>Acceleration

    Education is powerful tool but Unemployment………..

    How many time you have called KVIC for opening a small scale industry or any service providing industry to get self employed under Prdanmantri Rastriya rozgar yojna to bring change in Himachal or How many of you have consult
    Himurja for setting up even a mini microhydel power project you would come to know the game behind getting a small licence.

    If you do will come to know a poor farmer with extraordinary vision can not succeed to get benefit from all these scheme although you are educated enough. These schemes are for rich people to make them more more affluent not for Mango people.

    PS: Poor Governance from ages till now in Himachal, there is urgent need of the big change in State democratic system as it has got no transparency as well as zero employment to youth .Perhaps it would have been possible for people with young vision, to do what they want to do in Hometown or if they had been got little power to drive the Himachal.

  • Its far more prudent to improvise ‘Hotch Potch University’ in Shimla mostly having left overs and rejects as stu’s indulging in cheap politics than bring out ‘fly-by-night’ pvt. business ventures! D genuine ones suffer in this tug-of-war.When there are no med facilities for the docs and patients and one talks of more and more Med colleges!

  • The HP Education Minister’s justification for setting up private univs.. is a specious one and will not stand rational scrutiny.I agree there is a need for private investment in higher education as HPU is a chronic failure and no amount of govt. funding of it can make it a quality teaching institution. But why private UNIVERSITIES? The stated purpose of promoting quality higher education would have been fully served by allowing setting up of private COLLEGES affiliated to HPU or the new HP Technical University, rather than private Universities.In this way there would have been a check and regulation on the pvt. colleges by the affiliating universities.On private univs.,however, there is no check at all as they are completely autonomous in every respect(curriculum, fees, faculty, infrastructure)and completely outside govt’s control. In fact, it is an open secret that this is precisely why every investor wants to open a university and not a college.There is another interesting aspect to this phenomenon: all these univs are only running professional courses-technical, management, law; not one is offering a course in liberal arts! And this at a time when the govt. has just established its own HP Technical University at Hamirpur! Surely the sensible course of action would have been to allow these private institutions to come up as colleges affiliated to HPTU? But that would have meant that the former would have been subject to inspections/regulation: this would have spoilt their peculiar business model which consists only of making money! Most private univs. in HP are sub-standard( although there are some good ones too), lacking in proper labs and running only on guest faculty.Their products are unemployable-ask any industrialist in Baddi or Barotiwala. For this reason 50% of their sanctioned seats are usually vacant, and entrance criteria is relaxed every year to ridiculous levels in an attempt to fill them.( For example, a candidate who scores 25% in the Polytechnic Admission Test can get admission to a private Polytecnic, and a candidate who simply SITS for the JEE, regardless of his score in it, can get admission to an engineering course in a pvt. univ. in HP!) What does this say about the credibility of these univs. and of the quality of their output? The govt. is playing a cruel joke with the parents and students of the state and exploiting their desperate desire to acquire a professional degree. All the talk about GER etc. is just nonsense- we need to stress on quality, not quantity. I only hope the newly appointed Regulator can stem the rot and ensure that the students of these univs. get a qualitative return on the lakhs they invest in fees.

    • Coming from a former senior bureaucrat, there is nothing to doubt in what Mr Shukla has stated about private universities and the status of education being imparted in them.

      Yes, it is indeed a cruel joke being played out on the parents and students who are joining these institutions.

      Without defending the quality of education being imparted in these private universities, this much can be said that the government is incapable of setting up centers of excellence as you have pointed out about HPU.

      And an institution which itself has failed to become a center of excellence, despite so much of public funding, what kind of regulation will it enforce on others.

      Taking the case of Jaypee IT University, when it started out (with the bill being tabled and passed without a discussion in the house in a day) it was not a very good institution but over the years it has grown and established a name for itself.

      Surely some of the private universities starting out may also succeed and birth pangs will be there for many of them.

      Since the demand for employable courses remain professional ones, it can be conceded that all these private universities are only offering only such courses which may be considered of commercial nature – minting money to keep the cash coffers of the institute going.

      Citing the case of Sriram College of Commerce, Delhi making 100 % as the cutoff percent for obtaining admission, it is something that mediocre students will never be able to go anywhere near for obtaining quality education.

      Yet some of them may aspire to do a course in commerce, finance, business administration or others and where should they do go.

      Government control over higher education and supporting a select few, the IIMs, IITs, and the like has clogged avenues for many deserving students.

      Many a bright careers have been aborted simply because quality education was not available, either because of limited seats or reservation placing lesser meritorious students over meritorious ones.

      There is definitely much need for private institutions and it can be debated whether they should be colleges or universities – for education is a fast moving sector as demand for courses is fast changing and newer avenues of employment become available.

      A quality institute to function independently would need autonomy. Imposing the bureaucratic structure of HPU or Himachal Technical University to regulate them may or may not serve the purpose and the experiment of Education Regulator also has a similar role to play.

      Hope some sanity comes about in the emerging chaos. To stem the rot, those private universities failing to uphold standards should be shut down, or allowed to be taken over by better ones but in no case should standards be compromised.

      The only saving grace about private universities or private educational institutions of higher learning is that the land has not been handed out to some cement plant or some polluting industry. Investment in education should be able to provide lasting benefits.

  • The real problem is with the governance which is either based on populism or guided by petty self interests and personal opinions. It is either the random thoughts of CM or EM or Principle Secretary or sometimes the Director of education that evolves into the policy issue. There is nothing like studying inter-state or international models or consultation of research studies. High headed imperial designed bureaucracy does not tolerate anyone including stakeholders’ to share important thoughts. The current Principle Secretary has evolved a thought to order bio-metrics for every teacher so that they sit like other office staff from 10 AM to 5 PM in filthy common rooms. He must be nominated for the noble prize in planning as no one in the world ever mooted such an idea for intellectual pursuits. Such minds must be also blocked after official timings for any knowledge exercise. I also remember one of the Principle Secretary of Education who all through his tenure was never available to teachers including their elected leaders for sharing suggestions. The mess created in state run colleges and universities is fully credited to this officialdom and attitudinal problem. I am sure that the regulations by the government set up will further erode the standard of these institutions. But be sure that the babudom will definitely gain something out of this.

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