Shimla: Number of college going students has doubled in the State which has to 24 percent as against 12 percent last year as per the latest evaluations made in a report of the Government of India. This was revealed by Prof. Prem Kumar Dhumal, Chief Minister, while addressing the foundation stone laying ceremony of Administrative and Science Block of Rajiv Gandhi Government Degree College, Kot Shera, estimated to cost Rs. 3,28,46,000, here today.
Chief Minister said that Himachal Pradesh had excelled in the education sector, attained top position in the country and won awards for its achievements. He said that the State had accorded priority to education sector and enhanced budgetary provisions to 18 percent of its annual plan which was highest in the country. He said that quality infrastructural facilities were being created to cater to the world class educational facilities to the students as also attract students from other states to study in the clean and peaceful environment of the State, where participation of private experienced and financially sound players was being encouraged. He said that Himachal Pradesh happened to be the only State in the country which had constituted Private Universities Regulatory Authority empowered to inspect the private universities for quality adequate infrastructural facilities to the students as also determine the fee structure. He said that the Authority was empowered to fine erring universities fine of upto Rs. five crore besides taking other appropriate action deemed fit in specific cases.
Prof. Dhumal said that with the setting up of private universities the students of the state were able to get world class vocational educational facilities near to their home without paying any capitation and hidden charges etc. He said that the standard of education, facilities to students and all other allied activities of private universities were being monitored by the appropriate authorities. He said that majority of students and faculty members in the established private universities belonged to Himachal Pradesh. He said that Himachal Pradesh was emerging 'Education Hub' with the setting up of Central University at Dehra, IIT and ESI Medical College and Hospital in Mandi district, Technical University and Hotel Management Institute in Hamirpur, Food Craft Institute, National Institute of Fashion Technology in Kangra district adding that the state had already established National Institute of Technology at Hamirpur and similar other higher learning institutes in private sector. He said that such quality educational institutions would be instrumental in giving boost to tourism promotion activities as well, since large number of students coming from different parts of the country would also be taking benefit of tourism facilities as well.
Prof. Dhumal said that the State Government was spending 18 percent of its budget on education and related activities during current financial year. He said that many landmarks has been established in all the three State owned degree colleges in Shimla where quality infrastructure had been provided to the students. He said that the Arts Block building would be completed by next year and electricity transformer installed and made operational on priority adding that efforts would also be made to explore possibilities of providing hostel accommodation to the students within the campus.
Shri Ishwar Dass Dhiman, Education Minister, thanked the Chief Minister for according priority to the education sector and enhancing budgetary provisions for infrastructural developments by 142 percent. He said that pupil teacher ratio in the State was 18:1 against national average of 40:1 and added that 81.6 percent of students were getting education in state owned primary education centres and budgetary provisions of 18 percent was the highest as compared to 3.8 percent at the national level.
Shri Suresh Bhardwaj, local MLA said that it was during the earlier regime of Prof. Dhumal that Yashwant Gurukul Yojna was launched in the State to provide residential accommodation to the teachers serving in the tribal and difficult areas which had been a great success.
Dr. O.P. Sharma, Director of Higher Education said that out of 18,000 posts of teachers sanctioned by the State Government 13,000 had been filled up and process was on to recruit remaining 5,000 which would add to the teachers' strength.
Dr. Mrs. V.P. Mahajan, Principal of the College, welcomed the Chief Minister, Education Minister and other dignitaries and read out the annual report of the college.
Shri Rohit Mehta, President, Central Students Association, proposed vote of thanks.
Shri Rajesh Sharda, President, Shimla BJP Mandal, Shri Gaurav Sharma, President, Old Students Association, Shri Dharam Pal Mehta, President, Parent Teachers Association were present among others.