Education and Educational Infrastructure of Gujarat

Education and Educational Infrastructure of Gujarat

Education is widely recognized as the foundation of a progressive society. The recent trends in globalization underscore the importance of ‘market ready’ trained human resources. This trait of being ‘market ready’ is not attainable without quality education. While India is recognized for its humongous human capital, the current industry feedback suggests that there is an urgent need to improve the skill base of the educated youth in India  Traditionally, the government focus, in the education sector, has been towards delivering primary and secondary/higher secondary education and enhancing infrastructure to reach the broader populace. However, the drive to upgrade the quality within these levels has also met with limited success due to conflicting demands on the state/centre budgets for more priority programmes or issues.

A uniform structure of school education, the 10+2 system has been adopted by all the States and Union Territories of India. However, within the States and the UTs, there remains variations in the number of classes constituting the Primary, Upper Primary, High and Higher Secondary school stages, age for admission to class I, medium of instruction, public examinations, teaching of Hindi and English, number of working days in a year, academic session, vacation periods, fee structure, compulsory education etc. The education system, in Gujarat, with respect to schooling is divided into four distinct stages viz. Primary (Class I to IV), Upper Primary (Class V to VII), Secondary (Class VIII to X) and Higher Secondary (Class XI and XII). Higher and technical education is provided through universities and colleges in the general higher education category (arts, science and commerce) and technical education category (engineering, pharmacy, agricultural sciences etc.)

ny development oriented programme derives much of its strength from inherent legislative directives framed in the form of a policy. The education sector in Gujarat perhaps has not been shining to its potential due to the lack of a concerted policy direction. Much of the current system of education derives itself from the National Policy on Education, 1976. Though the constitution clearly mandates education as both a centre and state subject, there have been limited efforts in the state of Gujarat on framing a focused education policy to enable holistic development of education.  Gujarat ranks 9th on the Education Development Index (EDI); Planning and prepared by the National University of Educational Administration (NUEPA) , this index measures the performance of states on the Universalization of Elementary Education programme.  Though it is a significant leap from its 14th position not very long ago, it still points to a compelling need for making intensive efforts to bring about a change in the status of education in the state.

School education

Gujarat had an estimated 8.2 million children enrolled in the primary classes with the Gross Enrolment Ration (GER) touching almost 100%. There were about 2.77 million children enrolled in institutions imparting secondary and higher secondary education.

Both the government and the private sector are increasingly playing a larger role in ensuring that children are not left out of the education system for want of infrastructure

Higher and technical education

Gujarat has traditionally been recognized for its entrepreneurial leanings and not for its ability to develop professionally trained human resources. This however, is likely to change very rapidly as the Government of Gujarat has embarked on a mission to make Gujarat an Education Hub for the country. The efforts are directed not only towards attracting students from other states within the country but also from other countries. Gujarat currently has about 20 universities of which 10 are private universities (6 already existing and 4 new have been approved and will commence operations soon). Gujarat has over 900 institutions of higher learning and research which educate approximately 551,398 students. Gujarat has instituted approximately 34,323 engineering seats and approximately 47,753 diploma engineering seats. At the post-graduation (Masters) level approximately 10492 seats are available across various disciplines. Gujarat though has made tremendous progress in terms of industrial development and is considered to be one of the fastest developing states, the higher education system in Gujarat has been unable to deliver graduates fit to be readily employed in the market. While there has been improvement in the primary and secondary education sector, the higher education scenario needs further augmentation. However, the state government is taking aggressive steps to enhance both the infrastructure and quality of higher and technical education within the state.

Higher and technical education

To enable itself in becoming an education hub, Gujarat will have to first compete with some of the states within the country. For instance, Andhra Pradesh alone currently has about 145000 seats for engineering. If Gujarat is to achieve this number of seats, it will have to add about 122,000 seats. This would mean that Gujarat will need over 160 colleges with 750 seats each to be established by the year 2021.

Instituting an Independent Regulator

The Society for Creation of Opportunities through proficiency in English (SCOPE) is a registered society formed by the Govt OF Gujarat with a specific purpose to enhance the proficiency in English among the Gujarat youth all over the State by imparting world-class quality training in practical business English.

Gujarat Knowledge Society (GKS) is a society formed by the Govt. of Gujarat to prepare the youth for the knowledge based economy and society so as to stimulate creation of world class knowledge resources by developing new competencies in skills. It uses PPP model in which demand- driven skill training programmes are delivered by private training agencies in the classrooms & computer labs of existing Government schools & colleges.

GTU has been established in the year 2007 to cover Technical Education of the State under one umbrella so as to have a common academic setup all over the Gujarat. The university will also seek to improve upon the curriculum of various disciplines so as to serve the human race better.

The plan budget by the Education Department for the year 2009-10 is estimated to be approximately Rs. 1600 crores . This is in addition to non- plan expenditure of about Rs. 6000 Crores in education. This is a big push for the state; typically, budgetary allocation for education has been paltry.

Demand for school education was established using cohort population projections till the year 2021. The number of students who will be in the age groups 4 to 16 years were projected and the total was utilized to make demand projections.

The above figures are staggering when seen in the context of the education infrastructure required to provide quality education to all the children. This in itself represents a substantially large investment opportunity.

 

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