Kolkata: The state government has decided to set up four more universities in South Dinajpur, Alipurduar, Darjeeling and Murshidabad.
The Mamata Banerjee government has already ensured a major expansion in the sector of higher education. After the change of guard in the state in 2011, eight new state-aided and nine private universities have come up in the state.
Students of the area will be immensely benefitted from setting up of the university in Darjeeling and the three other places, as they would no longer need to travel long distances to continue with their higher studies.
At present, there are a total of 20 state-aided universities and nine private universities in Bengal. Moreover, in the 2017-18 fiscal, the planned budget for the state-aided universities was Rs 162.5 crore.
Besides setting up of four more universities in the state, the state government has also taken initiatives to increase the number of colleges, mainly in the backward areas. There were only 35 government colleges in the state in 2011 and now in the past few years till 2017, the total number of colleges has gone up to 65. Similarly, the number of government-aided degree colleges has also gone up to 450 and it includes 18 teachers training colleges.
With the increase in number of institutions for higher education, a total of around 4 lakh seats have increased at the graduation and post-graduation levels. Moreover, the gross enrolment ratio has gone up to 18.5 percent in 2017, compared to that of 12.6 percent in 2011.
Apart from the increase in number of educational institutions, 303 higher education institutions in the state have obtained NAAC accreditation and 292 of them are either government or government-aided colleges and 11 are state-aided universities.
Moreover, 25 undergraduate courses and 3 post-graduate courses in eight private engineering and technology colleges have also been accredited by the National Board of Accreditation. The minister also stressed on the steps taken to ensure that outsiders are not allowed inside the campus of educational institutions.