Published: 26th October 2021
AP CM Jagan bent on improving quality of education in the state. Here's what his plan looks like
While the proposals and directions sound run-of-the-mill on paper, the AP government seems to be taking measures to amp up the standard of education
From filling up vacancies to shaking up the curriculum, YS Jagan Mohan Reddy had some strong ideas on how to do a quick reboot of the state's education system post the pandemic.
The Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister was chairing a review meeting of higher education in the state, and his focus, as he mentioned, was intensively on quality and standards. The AP government, over the last few months has taken several measures that intend on giving the education system good dusting down.
For instance, and the end of September, the government put to rest the concept of aided colleges, freezing funds, and giving the managements three choices: opt-out of the grant-aid system voluntarily, hand over the college to the government, or run it as a private institution. The move was touted as a quality control measure, as officials said that there were failing standards in these institutions.
The move was also directed as a shot in the arm for the government's Vidya Deevena and
Vasati Deveena schemes. While the former provides complete fee reimbursement to eligible students for their undergrad and postgraduate education, the latter will take care of the expenses of accommodation and daily exigencies. These programmes will enhance the enrollment rate in higher education across the state, and ensure that students can study without becoming a financial liability for their parents, the government has maintained. At the meeting, the Chief Minister directed the institutions to achieve a Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) of 70 per cent by the year 2025
When the decision to freeze funds for aided colleges was announced, almost 90 per cent of the aided institutions handed over control of the college to the government. The staff from the aided colleges was also to be reappointed to government colleges, where there are vacancies aplenty. There are roughly 2,700 vacant lecturer positions in universities, and 1,600 in government degree colleges in the state.
The chief minister, while stressing the need to fill these positions, said, “Permission for filling vacant teaching posts has been given. If there is no teaching staff, what is the use of having a university? If there is no quality, there is no meaning in the recruitment of teaching staff.”
Reddy also spoke about the need to freshen up the curriculum with the addition of certified courses and integrated training by industry leaders. He emphasised the need for skill development, stating that the Skill Development Centres will be set up in each constituency and that institutions must make apprenticeship compulsory.
While there was no mention of the National Education Policy, the Chief Minister directed the authorities to publish textbooks both in English and in Telugu.