Published: 09th December 2022
Odisha: Five-year ban lifted, new private colleges allowed to open
In 2019, the Education Department had decided not to grant permission for the establishment of new private degree or professional colleges for five years from 2020-21 academic session
In a big step towards improving the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in the state, the Higher Education Department in Odisha has decided to lift its five-year ban on opening of new private degree or professional colleges in Odisha. A good National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) score or National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) rank will also no longer be mandatory for Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) to apply for increasing seats or opening new courses.
The High Power Committee (HPC) of the department, in its recent meeting, unanimously decided to allow the opening of new colleges taking into account the educational needs of local students, as stated in a report by The New Indian Express. In 2019, the department had decided not to grant permission for the establishment of new private degree or professional colleges for five years from the 2020-21 academic session to check the mushrooming of private institutions which lack infrastructure and faculties.
In the meeting chaired by Principal Secretary and Chairman of HPC Bishnupada Sethi, it was also decided to accord permission for an increase of seats and opening of new subjects, streams and courses (including PG courses) under the Orissa Education Act, 1969 irrespective of NAAC CGPA score, NIRF ranking and accreditation by National Board of Accreditation (NBA) for the academic session 2022-23 and onward till further orders.
Findings of education survey
The decisions were taken in the wake of findings of the last All India Survey of Higher Education (AISHE) which states that Odisha has 24 colleges per lakh population as against the all-India average of 30 colleges. Besides, the GER in Odisha is 21.7 against the all-India average of 27.1. In these circumstances, it is important to open more colleges and increase seats in existing colleges to bring more and more students to the higher education fold, Sethi said, as per TNIE. It was also decided that the HPC will propose the state government refund 100 per cent pledge money to educational agencies who wish to close down their colleges due to low enrolment.
Currently, one has to deposit a pledge money of Rs 15 lakh and Rs 10 lakh for opening a degree college and professional college, respectively. However, if one has to close the institution, he/she has to forfeit 50 per cent of the pledge money. Many colleges are not doing well, however, the management is not closing them as they fear forfeiture of 50 per cent of the pledge money. In such cases, non-closure of the colleges leads to deterioration of quality education, an official said.