Among intense speculations, the state of Bihar sits with its fingers crossed on the issue of achieving a 30% Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education. According to studies and expert analysis, the fulfilment of the criterion within the year 2020 looks like a mere impossibility for the state based on the current statistics and patterns.
As a matter of fact, a mere 1% of Bihar’s entire population is enrolled in the pursuit of higher education. Statistics reflect a dismal picture of the ratio of girls and boys between the age group of 18-23 years enrolled in higher education courses. The number of constituent colleges and affiliated colleges in Bihar are 250 and 350 respectively. These colleges which are under the flagship of 13 universities have lesser than 8 Lakh students enrolled in higher education courses which in fact is a miniscule proportion compared to Bihar’s population of 10 Crores.
Interestingly, higher education in Bihar currently has a GER of around 8% against the national average GER of 20%. Even the comparatively laggard states in education like Rajasthan and Jharkhand have registered better GER in higher education than Bihar. As GER is the ratio between the number of students in the age group of 18-23 years enrolled in higher education to the entire population of the group, it is a good indicator of any state’s progress in higher education.
According to educationists, Bihar is lagging way behind other states in higher education and its progress. Out of Bihar’s 38 districts, 25 lie assuredly under the category of educationally backward districts. There are serious concerns on the lack of engineering, medical and polytechnic colleges in Bihar which are forcing many of its students to migrate to other states in search of quality higher education.
Statistics have revealed that currently Bihar needs more than 373 general colleges, 236 engineering colleges, 139 medical colleges, 253 education colleges and 163 polytechnic colleges to achieve the national status. These numbers are an utter impossibility for any government to achieve at any costs.
Sadly, the state government has often been found to be negligent in its approach towards reform. Recently Bihar signed a MoU with the union government according to which the centre was to fund and set up 25 new model colleges at the district level. Instead of receiving all the necessary funds, the Bihar government has still not been able to erect a single model college in the state under the scheme.
S N Yadav, a retired professor expressed his saddened thoughts by saying, “Unless Bihar comes up with quality infrastructure and ample number of colleges for its students, the youth of the state are bound to migrate to other states in their quest for higher education.”
Many experts are of the opinion that instead of wasting time and money chalking out the payments of the teachers, Bihar government must now think seriously about revamping the entire education sphere. The infrastructure and educational statistics need an urgent boost in order to improve the quality and credibility of the state’s higher education status.