24 more varsities likely in Bihar

PATNA: The Bihar government’s move to establish more universities is likely to boost gross enrolment ratio in this educationally backward state. If the government move succeeds, the state is likely to have two dozen universities in near future.

The need for having smaller universities for their better management is being felt since long by the policymakers and planners. Past experience has shown that large universities have not been able to cope with the educational requirements of changing times, particularly after the economic liberalization and globalization. Until two decades back, the state had only six universities. At present, there are 12, including Maulana Mazharul Haq Arabic and Persian University, Rajendra Agricultural University and K S D Sanskrit University.

According to higher education director Sitaram Singh, since the existing universities are overburdened with the task of administering 50 to 60 colleges besides postgraduate departments, the colleges have failed to improve. The jurisdiction of Magadh University, having more than 100 colleges under it, extends from Mokama to Aurangabad, covering a distance of about 250km. It would be ideal if the university is split into at least three universities for ensuring better governance and academic development.

The government is likely to take up the expansion plan of the universities in phases. First, Magadh University would be split into two or three universities. All the MU colleges located in Patna may be brought under a new university. Subsequently, steps would be initiated to carve smaller universities out of B R A Bihar University-Muzaffarpur, L N Mithila University-Darbhanga and T M Bhagalpur University-Bhagalpur.

The government is also contemplating development of some colleges as “autonomous colleges” with a view to facilitating their academic growth. Singh, however, regretted that this move was often opposed by the teaching community without any valid reason. Several autonomous colleges in the south have been doing quite well, he said.

The government has already decided to develop 50 select colleges into “centres of excellence” by granting them substantial funds for infrastructure development. “Block grants would be given to the colleges for improving their infrastructure and steps would be taken to recruit sufficient number of qualified teachers for different courses,” Singh said.

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