The state higher education department will start 37 new degree colleges at tehsil and block levels from this academic session (2020-21).
It is expected to create additional 10,000 to 12,000 seats, giving a much-needed stimulus to the gross enrolment ratio of the state, which is just 3.7% behind the national average. These colleges will operate from abandoned government buildings or community centres till they get their own buildings.
These colleges were announced in the state budget 2020-21, weeks before the lockdown was announced, putting the plan in a fix. Thereafter, no progress was made for opening of these colleges till May due to Covid-19 situation in the state.
State higher education minister Bhanwar Singh Bhati said that last year they had opened 50 new colleges which had taken the gross enrolment ratio close to the national average. “The new colleges would help us achieve the national average of 25.7% in higher education. Despite the adverse situation, we pursued the opening of these colleges with a belief that the government colleges will provide higher education opportunities to those who otherwise could not afford in the private colleges,” Bhati said.
Of the total, seven are all-girls’ colleges and girl’s education in government colleges is free. These colleges are coming up in the areas or blocks where the education scenario is very poor.
The GER is a percentage of population in the age group of 18-23 enrolled in any of the higher education institutes. The state recorded the highest ever gross enrolment ratio of 4.29 lakh students in 2019-20 against 4.05 lakh students enrolled in 2018-19.
For most of the colleges, the local administration has identified the buildings for the said purpose. Pradeep Borad, college commissioner, Rajasthan, said, “These colleges will begin with common courses or subject combinations. Teachers will be drawn from nearby colleges to begin with and soon new recruitment will be announced.”