KERALA

New professional colleges this academic year: CM

KANNUR DEC. 7. The Chief Minister, A.K. Antony, has said that 114 self-financing professional colleges will be started in the State in the current academic year as part of the Government's opening up the higher education sector to the private sector with the objective of producing skilled manpower that is in great demand in the country and abroad. Inaugurating the Nursing College, which was started as another professional education institution of the Academy of Medical Sciences, at Pariyaram here today, Mr. Antony said that the State could not catch up with the development in the higher education sector in the country as "we have reduced ourselves into a debating society for over past three decades as we have debated whether self-financing institutions in the higher education sector would benefit the State or not.''

While the State was lagging behind in the higher education field, the neighbouring Karnataka and Tamil Nadu had made great strides in the sector, which consequently attracted large number of students from the State. That flow of students from here to the professional colleges in the neighbouring States would hopefully be stopped in the next five years thanks to the Government's policy, he said.

A self-financing professional college with 50 per cent merit seats and 50 per cent payment seats was equivalent to a professional college in the Government sector, he added.

The professional colleges to be started in the current academic year included four medical colleges, 32 nursing colleges, 42 engineering colleges, 13 institutions each offering MBA and MCA courses, five Ayurveda colleges, four dental colleges and one college for teaching Sidha system, he said.

Observing that there was general cooperation in the State on issues relating to development, Mr. Antony said that the State could regain the three decades it had lost in the higher education sector.

Later, while inaugurating the Ayurveda College at Parassinikkadavu started by the Pappinissery Visha Chikitsa Society, the Chief Minister said that the State Government would give thrust on starting Ayurveda research facilities.

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