Our priority is to make youth employable and to make the college campuses conducive for the holistic development of the students. Keeping this in focus many entrepreneurship and skill development programs are now being started and some of them are underway in colleges, says Bhanwar Singh Bhati, Minister for Higher Education, Government of Rajasthan, in conversation with Kartik Sharma of Elets News Network (ENN).
What has been your top most priority as Minister of Higher Education?
Our priority is the holistic development of the students. We want the State Higher Education to reach the level where it can match the Global standards. We want our students to grow in an environment where they can become job oriented and are capable of getting jobs globally.
The Government is endeavouring in this direction through its scheme and programmes for students so that they can get career and job oriented opportunities as employment is the major challenge for the youth. We do not want to create just graduates or postgraduates; in fact, we want skillful graduates and postgraduates who can sustain in the fast- changing global world and economy.
What policies and new initiatives have been undertaken by the Government in the last 6-7 months?
Our priority is to make youth employable, and to make the environment conducive for the holistic development of the students. Keeping this in focus, many entrepreneurship and skill development programmes are now being started and some of them are in progress in colleges. We aim to make students employable along with learning which can help them in the creative utilisation of their time and money. Our summer camp programme “Kaushal Unnayan” has met with great success which was organised in 163 government colleges of the State in June.
We have initiated the process of making college campuses secure, safe and free for the girl students. Girls mentoring cells and internal complaint committee have been set up so that our daughters feel safe and secure when they are away from home. Many programs are organised by our colleges to train girls in self defence.
To promote education in the State, Government has opened 45 new colleges and now we can boast that not a single subdivision in the state is without a college. This shows our determination towards making education accessible to all.
To encourage physically challenged students, our Chief Minister has announced higher education scholarship which is a valuable contribution and help to the students.
What specific has been done for the betterment of the education ecosystem?
Our Government is dedicated towards improving the quality of higher education, its development and creating a healthy educational environment in the State. In a departure from the protocol, we have decided to decentralise the entire process of brainstorming for development plans and creating them.
For this, CM Ashok Gehlot had announced the Resource Assistance and College with Excellence (RACE) for all the colleges. Under this, one college from each district has been nominated as ‘nodal’ and a total of 33 district resource aid committees have been formulated. Through this initiative, we are promoting the process of resource redistribution in the state education system and kick-starting a new chapter of development of the colleges.
Besides, for the first time, we are going to conduct the annual auditing of all the government colleges under Annual Auditing Programme, which was again announced in the budget speech by the Chief Minister. This initiative would be a great tool in monitoring the performance and development of the colleges.
Technology is taking over education in a grand manner. What are the technological initiatives in pipeline that can empower the weaker section?
We are going to start an online 24*7 Quick Response System (QRS) scheme to answer the queries of the students on a real-time basis. It is specifically been created for the students who belong to the weaker section of the society and cannot afford to attend expensive coaching classes. Besides, an application has been created for the Universities through which helpline facility for students, monitoring the academic & extracurricular activities of universities, the transmission of orders, and overseeing the work of district resource committees.
We are heavily focusing on imparting employment-related training to students while they are still studying. For this, we have collaborated with Rajasthan Skill and Livelihood Development Corporation (RSLDC). Under this, we will be rendering 34 regular courses for skill development in selected government colleges. 25 Language Labs are being planned to be established in the selected government colleges to help students in grasping the requisite language skills for acquiring jobs in the future.