Nearly 5 lakhs students qualify for Higher Secondary (X+2) level of study, out of which, about 3.5 lakh students pass out in West Bengal. This number will increase further due to universalisation of primary education for which, inter alia, the number of primary and secondary schools is being increased.
Generally, keeping pace with the national pattern, the growth of Technical Education sector in the State of West Bengal has been substantial during the last couple of years. The growth, however, is more pronounced in Degree Level Programmes (in Engineering./Technology).
It is also observed that there exists a great imbalance in the number and location of the Polytechnics in the districts of the State. As a case in point, in Kolkata there is one Polytechnic per 5 lakh of population (approx.) while in neighbouring district of North 24 Parganas with over 30 lakh of population, only one Polytechnic exists. There is a need to create more polytechnics to cover this regional imbalance.
West Bengal Government has identified improving the quality and extending the reach of the technical education and training as an important tool to improve the marketable skills and economic condition and quality of life of its citizens and to promote equity among them. While there is a need to improve this type of education at all levels, the urgency to address the issue at the medium and lower levels of spectrum of technical education is even more. The proposal of this report aims to improve the quality and reach of education at the level of polytechnics.
The reach of Polytechnics will be increased by opening new institutes in such geographical areas, which are not presently covered. Further, certain disadvantaged sections of population like Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes & Other Backward Classes and Women will be targeted by having exclusive institutes for these segments of population. These measures will promote equity. At the completion of the Project, 11 new polytechnics will be established.
Apart from improving the quality of education of 16,500 students in Polytechnics, (1.8.2010), which already exists at the start of project period (1.8.2010), annual intake capacity at improved level will be created for 1,980 more students of Polytechnics by the end of the project period.
The estimated Non Recurring cost for this Polytechnic is Rs. 14.73 crores over the project period from 2013 to 2016. Out of the above Non Recurring expenditure Central Assistance of Rs. 12.30 crores will be available and the State Govt. will bear the rest Rs. 2.43 crore. The annual Recurring expenditure per Polytechnic will be of Rs. 1.99 Crores. State Government will meet these expenses.
Education is a very important tool for improving mental capabilities and skills of people. Within the spectrum of various types of education, technical and vocational education assumes significance in a society, which wants to improve productivity, adopt modern technology and promote equity among its members. West Bengal would like to reach the fruits of development to all its citizens and considers technical and vocational education and training as a vehicle for the same.
At the macro-economic level of the nation, it has been argued that there should be proper balance of the three sectors of economy at this stage of our economic development so that we can increase and sustain our economic growth. The draft approach paper to the 11th Five Year Plan states that it is necessary to increase the rate of growth of Agriculture Sector to enable us to achieve annual growth rate of 8 to 9% during the 11th plan(2007-2012) . While our Service Sector continues to grow, it would be necessary to update our skills and innovate to handle challenges from global players. However, the growth of Service Sector is not necessarily due to increase in productivity of this sector, rather it reflects low productivity in all the three sectors of economy. One of the main factors to increase productivity is to improve and update skills of the workers. Moreover, due to increasing globalisation and the so-called flatteners of the World , it is necessary to educate and re-skill our workforce of all the three sectors so that they can compete globally. To achieve that, it would be necessary to upgrade and expand our institutes and training centres which provide technical and professional education and vocational education and training to our citizens.
We have been having 65 Polytechnics in West Bengal. Their number and intake of students is placed at Exhibit –I. However, it is felt that their quality and reach(number as well as geographical distribution) needs to be increased to harness our human potential better as well as to improve equity among citizens. It is also felt that it is necessary to address the needs of students, who, due to socio-economic reasons or attitude can not or do not continue education in formal system but can pursue technical( at lower end) education and training.