Guwahati, Nov. 26: Assam will set up 12 government colleges over the next three years to make higher education affordable and more accessible.
Sources in the state education department told The Telegraph that the colleges would be set up in 12 districts under the central government’s National Higher Education Mission. The central government will provide most of the money to set up the colleges. The ratio of funding between the Centre and the state will be 90:10.
The colleges will be set up in Sonitpur, Darrang, Bongaigaon, Morigaon, Dhubri, Karimganj, Cachar, Tinsukia, Nagaon, Goalpara, Karbi Anglong and Hailakandi districts.
“The main objective of the project is to make higher education affordable and more accessible. According to the guidelines of the central government, the colleges will have to be set up in minority and other backward tribes-dominated areas since these communities are lagging behind in higher education. There should not be any other government or provincialised colleges within 20km of these new government colleges,” the source said.
The government will try to convert the proposed colleges into model educational institutions with quality infrastructure and faculty, sources said. Construction will begin in January next year and 2016 has been set as the deadline for completion.
“Private colleges offering higher education are mushrooming in the state. Many poor meritorious students cannot afford to study in these private colleges because they charge exorbitant fees. There have been examples where some students could not pursue degree or post-graduate courses after performing brilliantly in Class X and XII owing to financial problems,” the source said.
The state government has also decided to increase the number of universities in view of the directive of the Central Advisory Board for Education on higher education reforms in the country. According to plans, the government will set up four new universities in the state.
In 2011, the central board decided that each university should have not more than 50 colleges under it to ensure better control over the affiliated colleges.
The Assam College Teachers’ Association has welcomed the government’s move. Biswajit Bhuyan, an officer-bearer of the association, said in view of rising education costs and entry of a large number of private players in the field, the government has to provide financial relief to poor and meritorious students.
The government has also decided to impose a ceiling on fees charged by colleges in the state to prevent them from fixing amounts according to their whims and fancies. Institutions charging more than the allowed fees will be punished and served showcause notices.
Currently, there is no uniformity in fees charged by colleges and some are charging exorbitant fees from students.
Assam has 5 govt colleges: Cotton College, Diphu College, Haflong College, Jorhat Science College and Kokrajhar College
The state has 189 provincialised colleges
The government bears the entire expenditure of govt colleges, including salaries and recurring costs for infrastructure and other facilities
In case of provincialised colleges, the govt only bears the salary cost
Students pay very nominal fees in govt colleges
In provincialised colleges, the management committee fixes fees