Madhya Pradesh Emerging as an Educational Hub

Madhya Pradesh, a tourist hub, or more famously a state of prehistoric paintings, temples and historic forts, is now emerging as a state full of opportunities for education. The state has been identified with a potential to fulfil the future requirements of the knowledge workers. The state enjoys robust educational infrastructure with 222 engineering colleges, 218 management institutes along with hospitality, agribusiness and law institutes. The state also boasts of institutes of repute such as the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the Indian Institute of Management (IIM).
Different states have various socioeconomic challenges, unique to those states. These challenges can only be addressed through the implementation of the right kind of education and skills development programmes. However, the fact remains that universalisation of quality education is the biggest challenge confronting the country.
The government has recognised the role of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) as a key enabler to bridge the gap. The policy makers in the government have realised that the huge task of creating a knowledge-driven economy can be successfully achieved only with the support of ICT. Different kinds of public private partnership projects have been envisaged to address the skills gap.
Madhya Pradesh, the second largest state in the country, provides around one lakh manpower or technical experts every year to the country. The state has a population of over 70 million. It has a decadal urbanisation growth rate of 26 percent with bigger cities growing as high as 40 percent. Bhopal, Indore, Gwalior and Jabalpur are its key growth centres. Unbelievably, the population of MP is more than the population of Afghanistan, Australia and Sri Lanka combined. In the last decade, the state has added more population than in Greece. The state’s large youth population can become the fountainhead for boosting the central government’s agenda of creating 200 million skilled workforce by the year 2020. For this, various educational programmes have been undertaken. The state is witnessing significant growth in engineering, telecom networks and other industries. Yet the challenges and gaps in industry and academia persist. The lack of quality and industry-ready skills in the youth continue to create unemployment.
The last two decades have critically examined of the role of higher education institutes (HEIs) in economic and social development of the country. In addition to teaching and research, contribution to regional economic growth through innovation is now perceived as the third role of universities. According to a UNESCO report, the university-industry-government linkage is seen as a triple-helix model through which effective transfer of technologies lead to economic growth. ICT can play a major role once HEIs are geared with appropriate frameworks. Hence, the need of the hour is to create frameworks vis-à-vis adapting with technology.
Smt Archana Chitnis, Minister of School Education, Madhya Pradesh, has expressed her concern over the quality of higher education in technical education. She has welcomed the National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF) as a significant step. She believes that educationists should address the needs of agriculture and allied sectors also. She has also emphasised upon the need for having a plan for the development of indigenous knowledge.
The private sector companies, in terms of education, can be leveraged in four dimensions by participation in school education, higher education, and participation in public and private institutions. School education too, is taking a leap in the state as major revamp can be seen in terms of pedagogy and curriculum.
In this cover feature, the digitalLEARNING magazine conversed with education stakeholders in the state to take a roundup of the emerging education scenario in Madhya Pradesh.