Friday, 6 July 2007

Education in Bihar
by Bibhuti BikramadityaChairman, BiharBrainsSeoul, South KoreaOctober 22, 2005

In July-August of 2005, I was in India for a short period of 20 days and spent most of my time with professors, teachers, students, scientist, Vice Chancellors (VCs) and discussed ways to improve education in Bihar।I had long talk with three VCs of Bihar, namely Patna University, Mithila University, and BN Mandal University। They all talked about some developmental steps taken by them but they are not satisfactory.In the inaugural speech of "Bihar Brains Scholastic Center" Dr. Rajmani Sinha, VC Mithila University, talked about his mission for modernizing the university, starting courses on fishing technology, opening technical college for women, and his meeting with the President of India.Dr. J Thakur Ex-VC of Patna University, during my talk with him, openly admitted that these days even the professors don't want to read books. The VCs don’t have enough funds to give salaries to the employees on time, give scholarships to the students, and start courses on modern technology and placement of their students.Patna University, one of the oldest universities in northern India, once was the center of excellence known as the "Cambridge of Bihar" and the very name of Patna Science College and Patna College was enough to judge the capability and intellect of a student. Students were getting scholarship on time and hostels were full of bona fide students. The situation has changed dramatically now. Hostels are full of political and non-political "Gundas" and the politicians are misusing them very smartly.Till early 90’s, the reputation of some more colleges of Bihar namely LS College under Bihar University, T.N.B College under Bhagalpur University, CM Science College in Mithila University, and Gaya College in Magadh University were considered good because of a good system in place with emphasis on the adherence of strict rules by the students, professors, and the employees. Students were working in the labs, professors were delivering lectures on time, and labs were regularly maintained. Now the situation has reversed.In my view, this is not only because of a bad governmental policy or non-availability of funds but also because of a lack of vision among the higher authorities of universities and colleges.With the changing of time, the universities of Bihar have not been able to revise their rules, update their syllabus. Professors have also failed to 'update' their knowledge, and in general, have failed to keep up with the recent advancement in the science and technology field. As a result, the research and development has suffered. Teachers, professors and other college employees, because of a 'don't-want-to-learn' attitude, are hesitant to use modern technology. Most teachers and students don’t have email ids; don’t know how to use computers and Internet and email facilities.What can we do?For this, we as sensible citizens of India should come up with the best possible solution and not mere discussion on problems. Passing bucks to political or non-political groups should be stopped. I believe that besides a bad government policy, the elite class of Bihar, business communities, NRIs, educationists have also contributed to this pathetic condition. I do strongly feel that there must be coordination, co-operation and active association among the erudite of this region who should come forward for establishing R&D centers and business houses in Bihar. In my view, we need to invest more in education sector from primary level to university and research level. We can invest as an individual or as groups or giving assistance to the group/society in the following fields ASAP.

a. Providing good infrastructure and creating work environment in university/colleges. There are no good labs for science as well as engineering or medical students in colleges or the universities. No experiments are being carried out by the students in most of the colleges. As result, students are afraid of instruments/apparatus.We as group/individual can give monetary assistance for the maintenances of labs and open free education for students aspiring to appear in competitive exams within the university campus itself. We must work on creating a work environment in the colleges/university departments. b. Open more and more engineering and medical colleges: In my view, we need a minimum of 50 engineering and medical colleges in Bihar. That could be opened under a society or trust. We can learn from Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu where societies/trust have played significant role in opening colleges/university and providing better education with good infrastructure. People of Bihar, particularly NRIs/ business community, should come forward to minimize the flight of the students to other states. c. Open R&D houses: Bihar has enough potential in dairy technology, fishing technology; sugar Industry and engineering technology/basic sciences.NRIs of Bihar can invest in opening R&D houses in these fields. Private companies must be attracted by the government.As an initiative, is planning to establish "Aryabhatt Center for R&D" in association with NRIs and professionals from Bihar who are in India and abroad for which huge investment is needed. We welcome donation and support from all citizen of India for this noble cause. We have already established Bihar Brains scholastic center at Patna and now going to open a "Resource center" at Patna University for which recommendation has already been made by the present VC, Patna University.d. Primary/secondary schools: Though in almost every state, government primary and secondary schools are not doing well, in Bihar the situation is particularly alarming.
Now we must be active for the development of this sector and contribute ourselves in whatever way we can. In my view, we can contribute in following ways for improving the condition of primary and secondary schools.
1. Group sponsorship: We can donate money to the schools for their infrastructure development by forming society by taking one school as test case and then move on to another school in the same fashion. 2. Individual sponsorship: All capable individual should start thinking about his/her own school where he studied and then contribution can be made to those schools. If he studied from the good schools then he can take one school as model test case and try to develop it in his own way.3. Pressure on government: Our society/trust should make this as a task and talk to the government to show some actions. For this, a mass movement is required, no other way around it.

Very nice article on present education system in Bihar. I still feel instead of always blaming the system we should create a system. The problem with we Biharis is that we always react but never act in advance. Time has come for every one for "Education with new vision", be it lecturer or student. - Shankar Sharan - Oct. 24, 2005
Dear Shankar Sharan jee,Yes, you are absolutely right. Instead of blaming the system, we must create the system and a good environment. We are in the process of that, need co-operation and support from all quarters. - Bibhuti Bikramaditya - October 25, 2005
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