Jayanti Ravi, Commissioner of Higher Education, Government of Gujarat, talks to Anand Agarwal about issues related to higher education in Gujarat. She expresses her views on how access, excellence and equity can be ushered into the State’s educational ecosystem
Gujarat has committed itself to transforming the quality of life of its citizens through various new initiatives. Many of these initiatives pertain to education, particularly tertiary education.
To make all this possible, we have established the Knowledge Consortium of Gujarat (KCG), which along with the Office of the Commissioner, strives to facilitate these initiatives that involve all stakeholders in education.
Education and Extension
Changes in the basic curriculum and academic system have been ongoing through a shift from the conventional system to the Choice Based Credit System (CBCS). This offers immense flexibility in choice of courses, choice in the teaching-learning methodologies, choice in evaluation and even transfer of credit for students who drop out. The on demand, online examination option is being rolled out.
In addition, we have distance education through universities such as the Dr Bhimrao Ambedkar Open University for further enhancing the Gross Enrolment Ratio.
To enhance access, we have Sandhan, an integrated all Gujarat classroom providing a platform for communication across colleges through audio-video tools telecast through the V-SAT. Every college has a room dedicated for receiving lectures by eminent speakers not just from the State but also those with National and International repute. More than 1000 hours of programme have been telecast every year since 2009 covering Science, Arts, Commerce, Employability and all higher education initiatives.
Saptadhara is a unique initiative for students to unleash their creativity under seven bands – knowledge band, creative expression band, fine arts band, theatre band, music and dance, yoga and sports, community/social service band.
Saptadhara provides a platform to hone the multiple intelligence of students. This also develops the physical, ethical, mental, aesthetic, reflective and spiritual dimensions of students’ personality. Students participate in large numbers at college level, district level, zonal level eventually culminating into a competition at State level. In all, 2350 students have participated at the State level in the competition during 2009-2011.
|KMP helps enhance ICT and Communication skills of teachers and students to promote basic research skills|
We also have a placement initiative called Udisha that helps students become more confident and empowered in making career choices. 436 colleges have been given basic financial support to set up Udisha Clubs through which student registration, pre-placement training, job fairs and counselling are offered.
To strengthen the entire system, a recruitment drive is on in the Office of Commissioner, through an Online Job Application System. Likewise, Office automation is in progress and all these efforts address access of stake holders to service delivery substantially.
Karmayogi Talim, a three day Programme for principals, initiated in 2008, has conducted ongoing and approximately 12,500 man-days of training in various competencies. The objective of these programmes is to ensure capability building of teachers, administrators and librarians, empowering them to be facilitators and motivators for students in a learner centric education system.
Training is also being imparted in ICT so that teachers and students are equipped to use the emerging technologies of the 21st century.
Yet another programme called KMP-Knowledge Management Programme, focusing on training for faculties in language skills, ICT skills, and professional development through more research. Launched in 2008, KMP helps enhance ICT and Communication skills of teachers and students to promote basic research skills.
Further, a drive to strengthen research, through workshops and training specially to give impetus to research projects and doctoral research in various subjects with support from nationally acclaimed academicians. The University Text Book Board has published research journals and more than 120 text books with community involvement.
A Compendium of Doctoral Dissertations and Patents in Universities of Gujarat has been compiled and published for reference to enable further research.
Other Initiatives – SCOPE, GEIC, IITE, Children University
One of our important initiatives, the Society for Creation of Opportunity through Proficiency in English (SCOPE), has been set up by the Government of Gujarat in public-private partnership mode, along with University of Cambridge. SCOPE is committed to empowering and fortifying the youth of Gujarat with proficiency in English. Over 2 lakh youth have already been certified through SCOPE so far through more than 400 Training Centres from across the State.
We have set up the Gujarat Education Innovation Commission (GEIC), which identifies several innovations in schools and colleges under various heads. So as to recognize and felicitate excellence, these innovations are identified, documented and disseminated.
There is the Indian Institute of Teacher Education (IITE), which aims at integrated development of students into excellent teachers through its unique curriculum and androgogical and pedagogical methods.
Children University, focuses on education, extension, research and teaching on all aspects of Children ranging from nutrition to health, toys, games and education with the motto ‘every child matters’ in a ‘life cycle’ approach.
MMI – A powerful mechanism
Access, excellence and equity are ensured through the Mission Mode Implementation (MMI) mechanism in Education. We have approximately 927 colleges in 33 Higher Education District as against the 26 Administrative Districts.
5 Clusters of 5 colleges each, form one Higher Education District (HED) i.e., 25 colleges form every district. Every HED has two District Coordinators and every Cluster has one Cluster-Coordinator. The district also has one Prabhari Professor from the University, to which it is affiliated and additionally, six student ambassadors per District. MMI has now become an active network through which we disseminate and collect information or implement initiatives effectively.
Academic and Administrative Audit (AAA) of all Institutions of Higher Education has also been implemented in order to mentor Institutions and provide support wherever necessary.
We have recently begun an awareness campaign called ‘Chalo College E Abhiyaan’ during which members from TEAM Higher Education, fanned out into various Higher Education Institutions. The aim is to mentor students, faculty members and principals in the ongoing Initiatives of the State Government and to simultaneously take stock of their progress being made across the State.
Various new Institutions like Central University, IIT Gandhinagar as well as the large number of private universities, are also, contributing significantly to ensure that the educational ecosystem in Gujarat is functioning well. All these reforms have been possible with the high level of political commitment of the State leadership. The partnership of all the Vice- Chancellors and the entire higher education team has also played a keyrole.
The basic philosophy behind all these efforts in the Education space is to mobilise community involvement in a sustainable manner. Gujarat is working towards quality enhancement by providing equity, access and excellence in Education thus preparing to face a progressive global and challenging scenario with bold and confident strides.