“For education to reach conclusion, the society has to be benefitted and for this reason, the Gujarat Education Department has launched the Student Start- up and Innovation Policy (SSIP), which encourages and facilitates students to become job providers rather than job seekers,” says Bhupendrasinh Chudasama, Cabinet Minister Education, Law & Justice, Government of Gujarat, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).
What are the state government’s priorities when it comes to education?
The Government of Gujarat is working on improving both the quality and outcome of education at all the three levels: primary, secondary, and higher. To maximise enrollment in primary schools, the state Education Department has launched ‘Shala Praveshotsav’ and ‘Kanya Kelavani’. And in doing so, the Department’s priority is to ensure that there are zero drop- outs till Class 10. Furthermore, continuous teacher training programmes, along with monitoring of schools has been done through ‘Gunotsav’. Along with this, NAMO e-Tablet has been launched to promote e-Education and Digital Learning.
For education to reach conclusion, the society has to be benefitted. And for this reason, the Gujarat Education Department has launched the Student Start-up and Innovation Policy (SSIP), which encourages and facilitates students to become job providers rather than job seekers. By the end of 2018, SSIP had reached above 2,50,000 students and supported around 3,000 projects.
The Education Department is also focusing on skill-based vocational education through Gujarat Knowledge Society (GKS), Society for Creation of Opportunity through Proficiency in English (SCOPE) and academic reforms under Knowledge Consortium of Gujarat (KCG).
What interventions has the Government of Gujarat made for ‘Skilling and Employment’ of youth across the state’s universities and other institutions?
When it comes to skilling of youth, language proficiency and digital education are two very important areas of focus. Society for Creation of Opportunity through Proficiency (SCOPE) in English was established by the Government of Gujarat to build English language proficiency in the youth of the state and thereby create employment opportunities for them. It has been the most successful PPP model in the state.
Similarly, Digital Education and Learning Laboratories (DELLs) have been set up in around 400 colleges across the state to promote the use of technology in education and learning. Implemented by SCOPE, the DELL project would enable colleges to train their students in various computer based courses and connect colleges to the outside world through web-based applications.
Furthermore, the government of Gujarat has launched a placement initiative called UDISHA where students can directly connect with various employers to improve their employability skills. It works as a communication pathway between Employers and Job Seekers. Under this initiative, college students undergo soft skill and domain trainings as per the requirement of Industries.
Placement camps are being held in all universities across the state and the Government is ensuring that every student attends atleast one skill programme during the UG programme.
Are any steps being taken to bring universities in the state to global standards so that they can feature among the top universities of the world?
In this age of globalisation, making universities accessible to universal talent has become very important and the Government of Gujarat is very much concerned about it. In line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s aspiration and vision of creating world class institutions of great eminence and excellence, the state government has introduced Gujarat State Institutional Rating Framework (GSIRF) which is a pioneering attempt towards creating world class institutions in Gujarat by Knowledge Consortium of Gujarat (KCG) in partnership with the Indian Centre for Academic Rankings & Excellence (ICARE).
The Academic & Administrative Assurance (AAA) initiative of the Government of Gujarat is also a step towards upgrading the state universities to global standards. The initiative has been taken to ensure quality enhancement and realisation of goals by the methods of internal evaluation, external audit, and mentoring of institutions. It works in synchronisation with National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) performance indicators and assesses each Higher Education Institutions as per the criteria laid down by NAAC from time to time.
Furthermore, the Government has launched the Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) as a centrally sponsored scheme, which aims to provide strategic funding to eligible State Higher Educational Institutions with the purpose of improving their infrastructure.
Also, a large number of research projects are being worked upon by professors and students to make their mark in world of innovation and to contribute largely to the global scientific database.
Could you highlight some of your initiatives in R&D, Innovation and Start-up domains?
We are following a very structured approach to promote innovation & Student Start-up Culture across our universities. In the context of state universities we took the leadership in the nation in setting university based innovation ecosystems. We have developed India’s First of its kind Student Start-up Innovation Policy (SSIP) to help student innovators & start-ups across universities in the state with a Rs 200 crore support system.
Each University has been given a mandate and guideline to further contextualise it and develop suitable innovation & student start-up support system. We are setting up pre incubation facilities in institutions across the state and are making efforts to see that most of the universities to organically set up their Incubation facilities in this period. We are also creating pathways to link academia, industry and governance.
Furthermore, we are trying to create an innovation-centric policy at all layers and wish to see that at-least one percent of our graduates should turn out to be either self employed or entrepreneurs in near future. We are also making efforts to create a decentralised innovation and student start-up support system so that student start-ups in any part of the state can leverage the SSIP support system.
Is the state government planning to introduce any new institutions for specialised domains?
The Gujarat Government is coordinating with MHRD for the establishment of an Indian Institute of Information Technology (IIIT) at Surat. Presently, IIIT Surat is operating from its temporary premises at Sardar Vallabhbhai National Institute of Technology (SVNIT) Surat, which is also its mentor institute. The alternative land has been identified and the allocation process is in progress.
We are also working on establishment of two Government Pharmacy Colleges in Gandhinagar and Surat. Administrative approval and land allotment has been given/made for the same. Procedure to get AICTE & PCI approval is under progress.