August 12, 2019
Education opportunities in Bangla driving youth towards progress
Today is International Youth Day, recognised as such by the United Nations. The day celebrates youth power all over the world. This year the official theme, as given by the United Nations, is ‘Transforming Education’, meant to acknowledge those who are working to transform education and uplift young people everywhere
The Bangla Government too has always given a lot of importance to the transformative capability of the youth of the State.
Ever since Trinamool Congress came to power in 2011, one of the main thrusts of the State Government has been to provide more and more opportunities for the youth to learn and educate themselves, be it through formal education or vocational, to get opportunities for jobs or for creating self-employment opportunities.
The Government has set up many universities in the last eight years. It has also facilitated, through favourable policies, several private universities as well.
Compared to just 12 universities up to 2011, there are now 30 universities (20 State and 10 private). As a result, enrolment in higher education institutions has risen from 13.24 lakh in 2010-11 to 20.36 lakh in 2017-18. Setting up so many in just eight years is a record for the State.
Eight new State-aided universities are being set up. In the financial year 2018-19, the setting up of two State-aided universities, namely, Harichand Guruchand University in North 24 Parganas and Kanyashree University in Krishnanagar, Nadia, has been taken up.
The total number of Government-sponsored colleges now stands at 450, Government colleges at 57 and Government engineering colleges at eight.
Poor and meritorious students pursuing undergraduate and postgraduate education get the benefit of scholarships under the Swami Vivekananda Merit-cum-Means Scholarship Scheme. Female students up to the level of PhD now get scholarship under the Kanyashree Scheme.
In skills training for the youth, Bangla is ranked number one in the country, as acknowledged officially by the Central Government. The scheme for this, Utkarsh Bangla, is one of the flagship schemes of the Trinamool Congress Government. It has been awarded at the international level by none other than ITU, an organisation affiliated to the United Nations: the scheme won the 2019 WSIS Prize in the ‘Capacity Building’’ category.
Utkarsh Bangla has a target of teaching skills to about six lakh youths every year to improve their scope of gainful employment and entrepreneurial opportunities. The placement-linked short-term courses are organised across the State, under institutional and non-institutional mode.
Currently there are 10,846 batches of students undergoing training in 296 courses in 38 sectors, being taught by 763 training providers. Involved in this scheme are 268 ITIs, 160 government polytechnics and 3,289 vocational training centres.
Opportunities for the unemployed youth
In order to create self-employment opportunities for the unemployed, the State Government has a scheme through which financial assistance of Rs 1 lakh each is provided to 50,000 unemployed youths every year.
Youth and sports
Youth of course has always been inter-linked with sports. And in this area too, the State Government has done a lot.
Rs 64.71 crore was released in FY 2018-19 for upgrading the Vivekananda Yuba Bharati Krirangan, Netaji Indoor Stadium, the swimming pools in Baruipur and Canning, and Kishore Bharati Stadium, Jadavpur.
A new scheme of assistance for various coaching camps has been taken up, at Rs 1 lakh for each camp, throughout Bangla. In the last financial year, 221 coaching camps were assisted.
Mountaineering expeditions sponsored by West Bengal Mountaineering and Adventure Sports Foundation (WBMASF) are organised throughout the year.
Hundreds of colleges are given grants for developing playgrounds, multi-gyms and mini-indoor games complexes.
Twenty-three youth hostels with modern amenities have become operational after renovation and new construction.
A decision has been taken for constructing another four; 15 others are near completion.