Jayalalithaa gives higher education sector a boost
By Express News Service
24th July 2012 10:54 AM
The first year of the AIADMK government headed by Chief Minister J Jayalalithaa has seen many a new initiatives for improving the quality of higher education in Tamil Nadu.
The primary measures included upgrading of infrastructure in higher education institutions, increasing the number of institutions in rural areas to make higher education opportunities available to the deprived sections of the society.
Within a few months of coming to power, the Chief Minister ordered opening of 11 arts and science colleges in areas where the reach of higher education is less. Besides, she approved starting of an engineering college at Bodinaikanur, in Theni district. Again, on April 19, 2012, with a view to fulfil the higher education dreams of the youth hailing from rural areas of the State, Jayalalithaa announced that 20 new government colleges — two engineering colleges, 11 arts and science colleges and seven polytechnic colleges — will be started in small towns during the current academic year.
The two new engineering colleges will come up at Chengipatti in Thanjavur district and Chettikarai in Dharmapuri district while 11 co-education arts and science colleges will be started at Edappadi (Salem district), Kanyakumari, Vedasandur (Dindigul district), Modakurichi (Erode district), Thirumangalam (Madurai district), Thiruvotriyur (Tiruvallur district), Paramakudi (Ramanathapuram district), Kadaiyanallur (Tirunelveli district), Aruppukottai (Virudhunagar district), Arakkonam (Vellore district) and at Nagapattinam.
The seven new polytechnic colleges will be set up at Srirangam (Tiruchi district), Gandarvakottai (Pudukottai district), Sankarapuram (Villupuram district), Perundurai (Erode district), Ariyalur, Uthankarai (Krishnagiri district) and Zolarpettai (Vellore district).
Further, keeping in mind the importance of starting new courses to compliment the purpose of starting new colleges she had ordered commencing 299 new courses in undergraduate/post graduate/research courses in 51 colleges. For this purpose, she had also directed that 841 posts of assistant professors should be created during the years 2012-13, 2013-14 and 2014-15.
On May 2, 2012, the Chief Minister announced that the infrastructural facilities in all 93 government colleges in the State would be upgraded immediately at an expenditure of `100 crore. She said this would be the highest ever allocation made for the purpose. The infrastructure facilities to be upgraded in the 62 arts and science colleges, 24 constituent colleges of various universities and the seven colleges of education will include — new furniture for students, blackboards, notice boards, tables and chairs for using computers for language laboratories, books and bookshelves for libraries, setting up of quality laboratories, projectors for science-related subjects, protected drinking water, upgrading the kitchens and dining halls, toilet facilities and rest rooms for teachers.
When the Centre took steps to introduce Common Entrance Test for medical courses across the country, on August 2, the Chief Minister strongly protested the move and conveyed her displeasure over the issue to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.She urged the Prime Minister to exempt Tamil Nadu from the proposed national-level test since it would affect the students of the State on many counts, particularly the unique reservation system and other policy initiatives being followed here.
The CM, also recalled that the CET was abolished as rural students and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds were unable to compete with the urban elite students in such common examinations as they lack the requisite training institutions and materials.
Another important move the government took was to merge the four Anna Universities of Technologies with the Anna University in Chennai. A legislation was also enacted for the purpose.
The State government said a mere increase in number of higher education institutions would not help the cause of improving the standard of education.
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