Himachal Pradesh chief minister Virbhadra Singh today reiterated his resolve to provide quality higher education and reaching out to students in rural and remote areas and said that there would be no shortage of funds for providing basic infrastructure and staff for newly opened colleges.
Presiding over the two days UGC assisted National Conference on 'Issues and Challenges in Higher Education' organised by Himachal Government College Teachers Association (HGCTA), here today, chief minister said that at present there are 18,000 schools and 94 colleges and the government has made a provision of Rs 5-crore for every new college initially and taken a policy decision that every college would have its own building.
"Colleges have been opened in remote and far-flung areas where the strength of the students is less but it would increase in coming days and the staff would also be increased proportionately", he said adding that "Education is my top priority and I will constitute a committee to look into the demands of college teachers".
Today, the number of girls in colleges was more than boys and this had been made possible by opening colleges in remote areas to make education accessible at door step, he argued.
Referring to shortage of teachers, chief minister said that the strength of the teachers was not as less as being depicted and more teachers are being appointed with increase is strength of students.
About problems relating to implementation of RUSA (Rashtriya Uchhatar Shiksha Abhiyan) and new reforms, he said that problems are always there when reforms take place but he was hopeful that few changes, modifications or rectifications can be thought of to resolve issues.
The HGCTA also presented a cheque of Rs One lakh towards the Chief Minister Relief Fund.
Prof B S Dahiya, former Vice Chancellor of Kurukshetra University, in his keynote address said that where-ever there were challenges there would be issues and vice versa and as such every society has its own needs and to fulfill them.
"During ancient times the purpose of education was to produce warriors and soldiers, during medieval times the purpose was to produce educated scholars and litterateurs and in modern times the education has become secular and scientific", he said.
"Today business and technology dominates, business is leading force and technology has become subsidiary and the real purpose and objective of education was forgotten and it has been reduced merely to a tool or medium to seek jobs, but it cannot even provide reputable job to youth", he said.
Questioning that whether we are we producing better human beings, he said that it was an issue to introspect as the purpose of education was not merely teaching.
For the new generation education means a medium to get a suitable job and as a consequence, business and technology has overtaken education.
Pro-Chancellor, APG University, Ashwani Kumar, said that the higher education is facing challenges not only in Himachal Pradesh but all the states were facing problems in implementing RUSA.
He said that three main issues pertaining to higher education sector are quality, costs and quantity.
If we want to provide quality education we need to incur enough expenditure to balance between quality and quantity.
General Secretary of HGCTA, Ram Lal Chauhan, demanded withdrawal of notification of March 26,2013 with respect to 26 hours teaching work load per week for college teachers, holding the DPC for awarding the time scales/grades to eligible teachers, evolving the new Performa to remove all confusions with respect to ACR and API based Proforma for promotions, incremental benefits under Notional incremental benefits scheme, counting of contract appointment period for financial benefits and services.