The proposed bills to set up four new universities, says Gyandeo Mani Tripathi, dean School of Educational Training and Research, Aryabhatt Knowledge University (AKU), says is a welcome move to minimise the pressure on the existing universities. He adds that instead of calling it a new university it is better to call it the decentralisation of the existing AKU which was established in 2010.
“AKU was primarily established to encourage research activities in the state. As the university is an umbrella institution to regulate technical, medical institutions it has just become an examination conducting body,” says Tripathi.
Highlighting the infrastructure challenge and lack of professors, Tripathi says that despite being a ten-year-old institution, the university is yet to have full-time academic staff. “The entire university is being run by administrative staff. There is just one sanctioned post of academic staff in the Nanotechnology department,” he adds.
Dolly Sinha, pro-vice-chancellor, Lalit Narayan Mithila University (LNMU), Darbhanga highlight the massive problem of running short-staffed universities. “Considering the youth population density and overburdened state universities, Bihar needs more universities without compromising on the quality of education. Just establishing new universities will not be sufficient to bring the education system at par with peer state universities.
However, Sinha is not in favour of setting up the streamwise university as it is against the idea of multidisciplinary approach recommended in the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP 2020). Also, additional universities are needed to address low Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in the state.
“Government needs to give equal importance to the strengthening of the existing universities. They must be provided with physical and digital infrastructure. Laboratories are in the dire need of development. Earlier, we used to have a post of demonstrator to take care of lab sessions, now the post has been abolished, while no another substitute has been provided,” says Sinha.
Revival of old institution
Bihar, being home to old educational institutions needs to think of reviving the old educational institutions. “Bihar Vidyapeeth, set up by Mahatma Gandhi in 1921 and has been lying defunct since 1942, can be revived. The government can consider developing this as an institute to offer teaching courses, “says Tripathi.