Sunday, October 22, 2006


Why KBK central university?

1. The backward districts have a lot of ST population. If we want more educated ST then a better and complementary stratgey (to having reservations in far flung institutions) is to have good educational institutions in the place where the STs live; i.e., in places like KBK.
Reservations in far flung institutions are not as helpful because very few people living in the backward districts figure out a way to go there, and the very few who figure out a way to go to Delhi or Hyderabad, do not usually return back.

2. Money poured into the backward districts are often not spent properly as many officers do not want to live in the backward districts (like KBK). Teachers appointed and/or transferred to such districts often lobby in state capitals to change their transfer/appointment, and many do not join their services. Same with respect to doctors. Thus we need teachers and doctors and other educated professional developed right there in the backward districts. This can happen only if we establish institutions (like central universities) that provide programs and opportunities for people in KBK and similar backward districts to become a doctor or a teacher or an engineer.

3. State vs Central: One may wonder why can not 1 & 2 be achieved by the state establishing higher education institutions in the backward districts. First, many of the states (like Orissa) do not yet have the money to do so. Second, state institutions and universities, if established, may suffer the problem, that many educated people from outside may not come to join these institutions. On the other hand central universities have a reputation because of which people from not only the same state, but from all over India are willing to relocate and join them.

4. This has not been tried: The LTAP and RLTAP and focused on many other aspects to improve KBK, but it did not have the component of higher education, and perhaps because of that, it did not achieve much. Hence , in tandem with other initiatives for backward districts, it is important to have advanced and higher education opportunity available right there in the backward districts like KBK.

5. What about primary education? Several initiatives (such as hostels for tribal girls, Ekal Vidaylay, etc.), are already on the way in regards to primary and secondary education. In addition together with the central universities there should be some monitired/attached schools such as Kendriya Vidayalayas. Plus the exisiting (and newly made) tribal hostels and Ekal Vidyalayas should be connected to the Central university so that
from an early age the students know about the opportunities and even have some role models.

6. Where in KBK? Since KBK is a vast area the proposed central university should be distributed across the various districts of KBK as well as the adjacent Gajapati and Kandhamala districts which have HDI worse than some of the KBK districts. The university should be like Delhi University in that it should have several colleges across the various campuses. (Allahbad University also has a similar structure.) Some of the colleges could be like community colleges in the US, focusing on more vocational programs. Our initial suggestion is to have the colleges spread across the following towns in KBK+Gajapati+Kandhamala:

Parlakhemundi (Gajapati) - narrow gauge (broad gauge by 2008-09)
Rayagada (Rayagada) - broad gauge (junction)
Koraput (Koraput) - broad gauge (junction)
Jeypore (Koraput) - broad gauge
Bhawanipatna (Kalahandi) - broad gauge being made
Malkangiri (Malkangiri) -
Nabarangpur (Nabarangpur) -
Titilagarh (Balangir) - broad gauge (junction)
Nuaparha (Nuapara) - broad gauge
Balangir (Balangir) - broad gauge
Sonapur (Sonepur) -
Baligurha or G. Udaygiri (Kandhamala)
Phulbani (Kandhamala)

Among these Rayagada is best connected by trains. So that could be the initial HQ of the university.


Update: (7th November 2006)

Other reasons:

A: According to NSSO survey
(i) Central govt spending of Higher education in Orissa is among the lowest.

(ii) Orissa has only 4.1 per cent rural youth enrolled in higher education.
(National average: 20 per cent of urban youth are enrolled in colleges as compared to just 7.9 per cent in rural India.)

(iii) Central universities work: In the north-eastern states, where most universities are funded by the Central Government, with overall higher education enrolment figure close to 40 per cent.

(B) In the US the Historically Black colleges and Universities, mostly located in areas with a significant Black population, contribute a significant number of highly educated blacks.

Similarly, the top 10 universities in terms of awarding higher education degrees to Hispanics are all in states and locations with a large number of Hispanic population.

Thus, the best way to increase the number of ST with higher education is to establish good universities (like central universities) in those areas.

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