Shimla: The government is committed and making all-out efforts to provide quality education in Himachal Pradesh with thrust on strengthening the existing educational infrastructure so as to prepare the students for state and national competitions according to their aptitude, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said on Saturday.
He was presiding over a review meeting of the education department.
Thakur said that the government has constituted the HP State Higher Education Council under Rashtriya Uchchatar Shiksha Abhiyan (RUSA) for the development and growth of higher education institutions.
Under RUSA, the authorities are working access, equality and quality status of higher education in the state,” said Thakur. He further said that since the RUSA grants and funds were linked to NAAC accreditation, there would be a healthy competition amongst the colleges to be on the top of the ladder.
He added that Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel Cluster University Mandi has been set up as per RUSA guidelines. “The Centre has approved ₹55 crore for this university out of which ₹27.50 crore has already been released,” said Thakur directing the officers to expedite work to make the institute functional.
He said that since 2018 funds amounting to ₹92 crore has been sanctioned for Himachal Pradesh University (HPU), Shimla as infrastructure grants to 26 colleges.
Thakur said that there were 929 high schools and 1871 senior secondary schools in the government sector besides 138 government colleges.
“The state government has allocated ₹3,671.95 crore to the education sector for the current financial year,” said the chief minister. He said that ₹116.37 crore capital budget had been earmarked for buildings and educational infrastructure development.
While 1171 construction works had been completed, work on 314 projects was in progress, he added.
He said that ₹98.98 crore had been spent on centrally sponsored scholarship schemes during the year 2018-19.
In the wake of COVID-19 pandemic, CM Thakur said the state government is not in a hurry to open the educational institutions and a decision on the issue will be taken after June 30, when guidelines from the HRD ministry in this regard are also expected. The education department has been ensuring maximum use of information technology for teaching students, he added.
Education minister Suresh Bhardwaj thanked the chief minister for regularizing the services of about 10,097 PTA, PAT and PARA teachers serving in different schools of the state.