By Sujit Chakraborty
Agartala/Guwahati : The government will bring in foreign faculty to improve the quality of higher education in the northeastern region, union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Ram Shankar Katheria has said.
“The government will do everything, including bringing of foreign faculty and development of infrastructure, to improve the quality of higher education in the northeastern states,” Katheria told IANS.
“The northeast region is a priority area for the central government. We will make all-out efforts for the development of higher educational institutions in the region,” he added.
Katheria, who was here this week and inaugurated a newly-constructed Golden Jubilee Knowledge Centre at the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Agartala, and opened an academic building at the Tripura Central University, was speaking to IANS on the recent ranking of higher educational institutions in India.
“We will include higher educational institutions of northeast India with the global educational network for their advancement. In the coming years, you will see the improvement,” the minister said.
Assam’s Tezpur University, Guwahati’s Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) and Meghalaya’s North Eastern Hill University (NEHU), have figured prominently in rankings released recently by the union Human Resource Development ministry.
Of the eight northeastern states, higher educational institutions of Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh failed to feature in the first university rankings, done by the HRD ministry under its National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) programme.
Eight universities of northeast India featured in the 100 best universities picked up in the NIRF while four technical institutions of the region figured in 100 best engineering institutes (research and teaching).
The Rajiv Gandhi Indian Institute of Management in Shillong and the Department of Business Administration in Tezpur University (Assam) figured in the 50 best ranking of management institutions (Research and Teaching), while the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in Assam’s Dibrugarh University secured a position in the 50 best pharmacy institutes (research and teaching) in the national rankings.
The Tezpur University was recently judged the best university among 40-odd central universities and conferred the Visitor’s award. The 22-year-old central university has made remarkable progress in the last two decades since its initiation.
Tezpur University Vice-chancellor Mihir K. Chaudhuri told IANS: “The university, despite its location in a far-flung area, has been steadily doing study and innovation works. We have a clear vision of the research and quality education and we are working in that direction.”
“We are happy to be ranked fifth among the universities in India. We feel optimistic that the combined hard work led by our vice-chancellor has been recognised nationally,” Rajeev Doley, who is also Director of Centre for Inclusive Development in Tezpur University, said.
According to the NIRF, Tezpur University in northern Assam was in fifth place among 100 Indian universities, followed by NEHU in Shillong (15th), Guwahati University (22nd), Mizoram University (51st), Sikkim University (61st), Dibrugarh University (74th), Assam University in Silchar (77th) and Tripura Central University (88th).
In all, four technical institutions of the region figured in 100 best engineering institutes (research and teaching). These are Indian Institute of Technology in Guwahati (11th), Tripura’s National Institute of Technology (52nd), NIT, Shillong (57th) and NIT, Silchar (65th).
NIT Agartala director Gopal Mugeraya told IANS: “Though our NIT got 52nd position, our achievements among the 31 NITs in India are remarkable. The placement percentage in the NIT is over 85 percent. Among this year’s 519 final year students, 477 have been already chosen by various government and private companies for jobs.”
“Over Rs.16 crore research and development projects are being implemented by our faculties and students,” Mugeraya said, sounding a little upset with the ranking of his institute.
Tripura Central University registrar Onkar Sadhan Adhikari told IANS: “Among the central universities in India, our university rank is 21st. Though we have to do a lot, among the 700 odd central, state and deemed universities in India, Tripura University is almost a front runner.”
“In just eight years after becoming central university from a state university, we have achieved a lot. There would be remarkable improvement in the near future as we have undertaken a lot of programmes,” Adhikari told IANS.