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Assam education minister dismisses reports of merging colleges with low enrolment

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HT Digital,

Guwahati, Feb 28: Assam’s Education Minister, Ranoj Pegu, denied plans to merge colleges with low student enrolment. This contradicts Pegu’s previous instruction to the higher education department to form a policy for college mergers, mirroring the existing school amalgamation policy.

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Pegu’s statement came during a meeting with the heads of 79 colleges, where he also imposed a stop on teacher recruitment in low enrolment institutes. Pegu clarified, “There is no move now to amalgamate Colleges with low enrolment. We are trying to boost enrolment in such colleges.”

He urged principals to strive for higher enrolment to ensure the colleges’ viability, and warned that the department will step in if they fail to attract students. The Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher education is calculated by dividing the total number of enrolled students by the population aged 18-23, then multiplying by 100. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 aims for a 50% GER by 2030.

The latest data reveals that Assam’s gross enrolment ratio (GER) is at 16.9 per cent, significantly below the national average of 28.4 per cent. The minister attributed this low GER not to enrolment rates but primarily to incomplete data submission to the All India Survey on Higher Education (AISHE).

To address this issue, the higher education department conducted a three-day workshop at B Borooah College. It was attended by over 800 government and private colleges to ensure accurate and timely data submission to AISHE.

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The minister emphasised that punctual data submission will provide the government with a comprehensive view of the education sector, including GER and overall pass rates, aiding in the formulation of suitable policies.

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