Mushrooming colleges


Achieving excellence in college education doesn’t mean sanctioning extra colleges on paper, but to address the issues faced by the colleges at the grassroots level. The mushrooming of college sector in our State appears to be more a pro-politics rather than pro-academics affair. Rather than going for burgeoning of college sector, we badly need to review the current education system in our colleges including the examination system and question asking pattern to test student’s critical thinking and writing skills rather than merely testing their information or knowledge. An utmost thrust must be on improving the curriculum in tune with socio-economic needs of our society to make learning socially relevant. Similarly, we must think on the lines of enhancing and enriching the infrastructure and teaching-learning facilities in the existing colleges caring more for the quality learning and skill based education in practical terms. The mushrooming of degree colleges will not enhance the student learning or improve educational setup, but may result in its declining if the existing scenario of faulty infrastructure and compromised teaching-learning practices continues. The graduation rates will only increase but there will be no improvement in quality learning and gaining skill based education. Overall today’s college student is deficit in reading capability, learning pursuit and writing skills that is challenging the very essence of imparting quality and skill based education. In times when the governments across the world are engaging their resources with best research and innovative educational policies and technologies to achieve excellence in academics and research, our policy makers are simply interested in quantity enrichment of our higher education without a proper plan. They are not addressing the basic academic needs of native populations as per their aspirations and cultural or socio-political setup. Innovation and technology is dreams apart here. Our need of establishing more colleges should be in conformity with the percentage of population in college going stage. Maintaining proper ratio between higher secondary’s and colleges, average pass percentage at plus 2-level and expected enrolment in local colleges is important. Do we get enough of the pass outs from higher secondary actually available to take admission in newly created colleges? We know that majority of students who are in college going stage prefer or choose to take professional graduate courses in Government and private colleges either within the State, or outside the State or country. When very less number of students are actually willing to take admission in our colleges for the sake of degree only without showing any commitment towards academic excellence, then how will creating more degree colleges help us to do better in academia. Therefore, our colleges should be well equipped to run quality and attractive courses to magnetically pull students towards them. A good number of our graduates are compelled to move outside the State to pursue post graduate courses because they don’t get the opportunity to get enrolled in local universities due to less intake capacity for PG courses. It will be, therefore, quite beneficial for student community if some of the old and well established colleges at least one or two in each district are converted to PG colleges to cater the needs of local aspiring youth to get master’s degrees. However, it demands establishment of quality infrastructure, modern cohorts and pedagogy of teaching-learning, state of art laboratories, rich libraries, adequate teaching and non-teaching faculty, competent leadership, ICT based tools, overall better learning atmosphere, etc. No doubt, we need more colleges to provide educational access and facility to deprived sections of the society at their doorsteps. However, a proper plan or procedure should be in place to run unique courses and subjects in these new colleges to attract students in tune with better career options and job prospects. Further, most of our population lives in rural areas but majority of the quality degree colleges is located in the city alone, particularly Dimapur and Kohima. A visible difference exists between infrastructure and academic expectations among rural and city colleges. This need to be looked into and made impartial. Protection of interests of students and providing them conducive learning atmosphere and best education in our colleges should be our motive. Let us hope that our policy makers are looking at it and sorting ways and means of the practical implications for these colleges in teaching and research so as to make our college sector academically rich and socially relevant.