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Free Wi-Fi In Universities

As per promise made in its election manifesto for 2019, BJD Government has decided to provide free Wi-Fi services in the State Public Universities.

Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik on Thursday reviewed the targets and achievements of the Higher Education Department during the last four years and the fulfillment of the assurances given in the manifesto.

Later Higher Education Minister Rohit Pujari presented detailed achievements promised in the election manifesto and other transformative steps undertaken by the Department during the last 4 years. Principal Secretary Higher Education Bishunapada Sethi also attended the meeting.

Principal Secretary Shri Sethi has been pro-actively spearheading the 5T Charter implementation in the Department of Higher Education, which is yielding positive results. 

Wi-Fi service is one of the 5T Charters of the State Government for promoting Technology in the Education Sector, which Shri Sethi is monitoring its faster implementation.

All the State Public Universities will be made Wi-Fi enabled from next academic year. The Electronics and Information Technology Department is in the job to provide free 1 GB data to all the students, Shri Pujari said. 

The Department has made State scholarship Portal operational since 2020-21 wherein 6 related departments have on-boarded. An Advisor has been appointed for the Higher Education Department scholarship scheme.

Similarly, he said, education loan is being provided to the students by Commercial banks with 1% interest since 2016-17 and the Government is bearing the rest of the interest.

Under 5T initiatives, teachers’ attendance (7 hours duty) is being monitored through biometric devices and 100 per cent bio-metric attendance for all Higher Education Institutes have been ensured, he said.

Shri Pujari informed that guidelines for distribution of free laptops to meritorious students has been changed from State wise to district/block wise. Scholarship guidelines was also changed by providing for preparation of merit list district/block wise (not state wise). The Department has implemented an umbrella scholarship scheme Mukhyamantri Chatra Protsahan Yojana.

Students’ attendance of minimum 75% required for appearing at the end term examination was also fully implemented.

Students’ feedback on SAMS – Feedback system in SAMS is put in place. Programmes for motivating teachers including exposure visit to outside the State/Country – Orientation/ Refresher / Mid-Career Training programs are organized regularly, Shri Pujari said.

To activate Career Counseling Cells in Universities and Colleges – Career Counseling Cells have been established in various Colleges and Universities to provide a platform for students to orient themselves for choosing their career plans, the Minister said.

Free coaching along with lodging and boarding are being provided to 200 meritorious civil service aspirants across all categories. Skilling of students of degree colleges to enhance their employability- Training on soft skills such as Spoken English, etc. are being conducted through virtual tutorials.  Eleven Centres of Excellence (CoE) are in operation across the State. Principal Secretary Higher Education, Shri Sethi has taken proactive initiative in this regard, said a senior official of DoHE.

MO College platform was launched in the year 2019 with more than 28,219 alumni registered through web-portal.

To take care of the aspiration of students passing out class-12 in educationally disadvantaged Blocks to study degree courses, especially in science-steps are being taken to set up Science degree colleges in educationally disadvantaged Blocks, he informed.

Uniform transfer policy has been implemented for teachers and non-teaching staff while guidelines for Governing Body/ Executive Councils of Colleges to be amended to ensure achieving the goals of quality education, said Principal Secretary Shri Sethi.

Odisha Education (Establishment Recognition and Management of Private College) Rule 1991 has been amended, he said.  

As many as 16 services of the Department have been included under the Mo Sarkar Initiative. Steps are being taken to early distribution of Financial Assistance under Biju Yuva Sasaktikaran Yojna, HEIs are being contacted for certificate, CLC/TC.

Over a period of two decades, the number of students in the State have doubled from 3.2 lakhs in 2000 to 6.5 lakhs in 2023, out of which 3.8 lakhs are girl students. Similarly, the Gross Enrolment Ratio has increased from 11 to 21 in the same time period, Sethi said.

This has been possible since the Government is now spending more by enhancing the budget provision from Rs. 473 crores in 2000 to Rs. 3173 crores in 2023, he pointed out.

Towards infrastructure development of Higher Education Institutes, the Government has made an expenditure of Rs.260 crores in 2022 against Rs.20 crores in 2000. The number of colleges have been increased from 548 to 1024 while State public universities from 6 to 16.

A praiseworthy effort in this front has been taken by the Department where 15,000 +2 pass out students are given a financial help of Rs. 30,000 to buy laptops.

So far, 28,351 beneficiaries have benefitted from the scheme during 2020-21 and 2021-22. Kalinga Sikhya Sahayata Yojana – Interest rates quoted by different Nationalised banks for availing educational loans has been a matter of concern for the student who plans to avail it.

The State Government has intervened and providing interest subvention to the Nationalized banks so as to reduce financial burden on the student, the Principal Secretary added.

He said that the student availing the loan now has to pay an interest of 1% while the rest amount has borne by the Government. More than 700 students have benefitted from this scheme since 2016-17 (Inception of the Scheme).

To enhance the employability of students, career counselling centres have been established in various Colleges and Universities to provide platform for students to orient themselves for choosing their career plans.

Steps are being taken to provide internship, skill development training to 50,000 students every year through job melas by networking with industries and corporate recruiters, Shri Sethi pointed out.

He also informed the media that the Government has introduced free civil service coaching in the year 2023, under which free coaching along with lodging and boarding for 200 meritorious students will be provided to civil service aspirants.

In line with New Education Policy (NEP), a choice-based credit system (CBCS) has been started for all UG and PG students. Compulsory courses like communicative English, Basics of Information and Communications Technology (ICT), Ethics and values, Disaster Management, NCC etc. have been introduced.

Common UG and PG admission for the entire state through a single portal and free video lectures (virtual tutorial) for students and teachers are in place. About 25% of the Higher Education Institutes have been NAAC (National Assessment and Accreditation Council) accredited.

As a measure of e-governance, E-Samarth has been introduced wherein 41 modules have been developed relating to various essential functionalities of state public universities.

Further, Chief Minister Research Incentivization Fellowship Plan (CMRIFP) has been launched with hopping budgetary outlay of Rs. 326 crores over 5 years from 2023-24.

To give momentum to faculty and student research, the Department of HE is providing access to about 20,000 e-journals and nearly 20 lacs e-books to 14 universities and 33 Autonomous Colleges. This effort has been recognized at the national level (Winner of SKOCH Gold 2023 Award).

During the last 4 years, 175 University Professors/ Associate professors/ Asst. Professors, 321 Asst. Professors in Govt. Training Colleges, 125 Asst. Professors in Government General Colleges, 3882 Lecturers in Non-Government Aided Colleges and 324 Laboratory Assistant-cum-Store Keepers, Junior Librarian and Physical Education Teachers (PET) have been appointed. Recruitment for 481 Assistant Professors for Government Colleges is in progress by OPSC.

Bhima Bhoi Chair has been established at G.M. University, Maa Rama Devi Chair at Rama Devi Women’s University, Adikabi Sarala Das Chair at JNU, New Delhi and Chief Minister Chair at National Law University , Cuttack have been established.

Odisha University Research and Innovation Plan (OURIIP) – During the last four years 200 faculty researchers and about 100 research scholars were covered under the scheme.

Higher Education Department, Odisha has been awarded with prestigious SKOCH Gold Award during 2022 for the programme, E-resources developed for the Universities and Autonomous Colleges.

Sambalpur University Hockey Men and Women teams secured 3rd position in the All-India Interuniversity hockey men and women tournaments for 2022-23. In the field of academics, faculties of State Public Universities have received 372 national and international awards.

As many as 161 MoUs have been signed by universities with different national and international organizations.

The Higher Education Department signed a MoU with NASSCOM and INFOSYS Ltd. (Springboard) for undertaking skill development training in Emerging Technologies in State Higher Education Institutions on 23 May, 2023.