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The Times of India

Bihar ranks 4th in higher edu enrolment in 2020-21

PATNA: Thanks to the recent efforts of the state education department, Bihar has recorded a phenomenal rise in its gross enrolment ratio (GER) in 2020-21. The state’s GER has increased from 14.5 per cent in 2020 to 19.3 per cent in 2021, according to preliminary statistics revealed during the All India Higher Education Survey (AISHE) for 2020-21.

The final AISHE report for 2020-21 is likely to be released soon by the Union ministry of higher education, state education department sources said.

With this quantum jump in GER, the state is likely to achieve the national average of 26.9 per cent sooner than expected, said Bihar State Higher Education Council’s vice-chairman Kameshwar Jha. The state has made it to the fourth top position, next to Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu, in terms of total enrolment during the year 2020-21. With a total enrolment of 52.93 lakh UP is at the top, followed by Maharashtra with 40.73 lakh and Tamil Nadu with 31.22 lakh students. Bihar’s figure stands at 23.55 lakh.

As per the estimated GER during the period, Chandigarh has got maximum GER of 52 per cent and Ladakh’s GER is lowest at 4.9 per cent.

Jha pointed out that chief minister Nitish Kumar had called upon the education department officials to take necessary steps for enhancing the state’s GER to 30 per cent by 2030. But, at the present growth, the target may be achieved even earlier, he said.

He said an increase of about five per cent GER in just one year is quite commendable and it has been made possible due to the concerted efforts of all the stakeholders. Due to a campaign launched by the education department, more institutions of higher education participated in the survey. In the previous year, only 845 institutions from the state had participated in the survey, whereas as many as 1043 colleges took part in the survey this time.

Besides, a large number of new institutions, including nursing colleges, were opened during the period.

Had there been no Covid-19 pandemic, the figure would have gone up higher, he said.

He pointed out that now there is at least one Plus Two school in every panchayat and steps have been initiated to upgrade eligible Plus Two schools (intermediate colleges) as degree colleges. Steps have also been initiated to avoid unnecessary delay in grant of affiliation to degree colleges which fulfil the requisite criteria.

The number of seats in different constituent and affiliated colleges in the state is also being increased on the demand made by institutions, duly recommended by the universities concerned. The education department would sanction the required number of seats as per needs and infrastructural facilities available.

Jha added that the state education minister would soon take up the issue of distance education with the Centre, so that all the existing centres of distance education functioning under different universities continue to function smoothly and impart higher education to the youth in this educationally backward area. The UGC would be approached to relax its recent condition of recognizing the directorate of distance education (DDE) of only the universities which are NAAC-accredited with ‘A’ grade, he said.