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No plan to merge colleges with low enrolment: Assam minister

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Guwahati, March 1: Assam education minister Ranoj Pegu on Friday categorically stated that the higher education department had no plan to merge colleges in the state with low enrolment and that steps were being taken to enhance enrolments in such institutions.

Clearing the air in this regard at a media conference here, Pegu said, “There are no plans to merge colleges with low enrolment. On the other hand, we are boosting enrolments through college clustering, faculty sharing, transitioning to co-education, expanding hostels and student counselling in higher secondary schools.”

The education minister, while reiterating the government’s commitment to strengthening education at all levels, regardless of student numbers, stated that with the updated data in the All-India Survey on Higher Education this year, the department was set to enhance the state’s Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in Higher Education.

On Wednesday, Pegu had taken to microblogging platform, X, to state that college principals needed to make efforts to increase the number of students to make the institutions sustainable.

state the same. “In response to a news on college amalgamation, I do hereby clarify that there is no move now to amalgamate colleges with low enrolment. We are making efforts to increase enrolment in colleges with low enrolment,” he said.

“Principals must make efforts to increase the number of students to make the colleges sustainable. At the end of all efforts, if a college fails to attract students, the department will take action. Principals are to ensure quality education so that students and parents are attracted,” the minister said.

Notably, last month, the higher education department had conducted a meeting with the principals and governing body presidents of 79 colleges having enrolments less than 500 each and discussed the possible roadmap to enhance enrolment.

On the other hand, in a strategic effort to enhance IT (information technology) education, the education department on Friday held a video conference with state universities and colleges in collaboration with National Institute of Electronics and Information Technology (NIELIT), Guwahati, focusing on integrating advanced IT skill courses as outlined in the National Education Policy (NEP), 2020.

“Our government is set to introduce job-oriented IT courses in colleges and universities, aiming to empower students with skills for the digital economy,” Pegu said.

“Apart from undergraduate and postgraduate courses, our higher education institutions will have to provide short-duration skill courses in collaboration with NIELIT, NSDC and PMKVY,” the minister said.

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