Other States

After schools, Atmanand colleges in Chhattisgarh

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. File

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel. File | Photo Credit: SANDEEP SAXENA

Giving a further push to English education in Chhattisgarh, the Bhupesh Baghel-led Congress Government on Thursday said it would set up English-medium colleges across the State.

“It has been proposed that in the first phase, about ten Swami Atmanand English Medium Adarsh Colleges will be opened in the major cities of the State for the forthcoming academic session in June 2023. Moreover, a working plan to open English-medium colleges in all the district headquarters within the upcoming three years is expected to be developed in the next ten days,” said a government press statement.

Chief Minister Mr. Baghel also tweeted about the decision. "Now parents need not worry anymore. Make your children well educated. Gone are the financial troubles associated with sending children away for quality [higher] education after [completing] school [education]. The education revolution in Chhattisgarh will present the country's best education model in the coming days. #CongressMeansGovernance," said the tweet in Hindi.

Ten colleges in pilot phase

Secretary (Higher Education) Bhuvanesh Yadav told The Hindu that the ten proposed colleges in the major urban centres in the pilot phase would offer courses such as Arts, Commerce and Science, and depending upon the success levels, the government would try to introduce professional courses too.

Asked about the resources needed to set up these colleges, Mr. Yadav claimed that the decision would not put a significant burden on the State exchequer.

“We had existing buildings ready for opening new degree colleges in seven [of these ten] places, which we will now use for Swami Atmanand English-Medium Colleges. In two other districts, we will run exclusive English-medium classes in the second shift. In case, we need to develop additional facilities such as sports or online education infrastructure, we will pool in money from CSR funds, District Mining Fund and the collector’s fund,” said Mr. Yadav.

Typically, a sum of ₹4.65 crore is earmarked for the infrastructure cost and ₹2.43 crore for the establishment cost of each new college, he added.

According to Mr. Yadav, the State has recently hired 1,300 assistant professors and many of them are conversant in English. “So we have already identified a pool of assistant professors for these colleges and may not need to hire more to run these colleges,” he said.

422 schools to be added

The decision to open these colleges was announced days after the government said that it would add 422 new Swami Atmanand English-Medium Schools in the State. At present, there are 247 such English-medium schools running across Chhattisgarh.

The government claims these schools and their overall emphasis on providing quality English-medium education to the underprivileged sections as a success story. With 700 plus schools and ten colleges offering admissions months before the scheduled Assembly polls in 2023, education is expected to be one of the key poll planks when the Congress seeks a fresh mandate.

Critics, however, have consistently pointed out that in a State where there are 44,000 government schools and many of them lack facilities as basic as classrooms or benches, these swanky school buildings are little more than eyewash.

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Printable version | Aug 18, 2022 10:37:58 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/after-schools-atmanand-colleges-in-chhattisgarh/article65784298.ece