No plan to merge Assam colleges, says Ranoj Pegu; warns of action ‘if they fail to attract students’

Assam education minister has directed all higher education institutions to make efforts to increase the number of students to make colleges sustainable.

Assam's gross enrolment ratio is at 16.9%, less than the national average. (Image: X/@ranojpeguassam)Assam's gross enrolment ratio is at 16.9%, less than the national average. (Image: X/@ranojpeguassam)

Anu Parthiban | February 28, 2024 | 11:35 AM IST

NEW DELHI: Assam education minister Ranoj Pegu has taken a u-turn and denied the merger of colleges with low student enrolment. The clarification comes a few days after Ranoj Pegu directed the higher education department to draft a policy for merging colleges in line with the existing policy of amalgamation of schools.

During a meeting with governing body presidents and principals of 79 colleges, the state education minister directed to stop teachers’ recruitment in institutes with low enrolment.

However, in a latest post on X, Pegu said: “In response to a news of 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 further said that the principals “must make efforts to increase the number of students to make the colleges sustainable”. If a college fails to attract students, the department will take action, the minister said.

The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education is calculated by dividing the number of enrolled students by the population aged 18-23, then multiplying by 100. NEP 2020 aims for a 50% GER by 2030.

As per the latest data shared by the minister, Assam's gross enrolment ratio is at 16.9%, which is below the national average of 28.4%. “Our low GER is not due to enrolment rates but primarily due to incomplete data submission to the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE),” he said.

To address the low enrolment rate, the higher education department had organised a 3-day workshop at B Borooah College for over 800 government and private colleges “to ensure accurate and timely data submission to AISHE”.

The minister said that timely submission of data will provide the government with a comprehensive view of the education sector, including GER, overall pass percentage, facilitating the formulation of relevant policies.

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