Haryana has gradually evolved as knowledge based economy due to the abundance of capable and qualified human capital. It has immense opportunities to establish its distinctive footing not only in the country but in the world. Empowering the students and making them educated and self- reliant has always been one of the prime concerns and focus of the Department of Higher Education, says Ankur Gupta, Principal Secretary, Department of Higher & Technical Education, Electronics & Information Technology, Government of Haryana in an interview with Priya Yadav of Elets News Network (ENN).
What is the vision of the Department of Higher Education, Government of Haryana?
Department of Higher Education, Haryana acknowledges the importance of reforms that need to be taken overhaul education system in the state. Accordingly, the department is working on various initiatives, which will not only improve the overall education scenario but also help in portraying Haryana as an education hub in North India.
Haryana has gradually evolved as knowledge based economy due to the abundance of capable and qualified human capital. It has immense opportunities to establish its distinctive footing not only in the country but in the world. Empowering the students and making them educated and selfreliant has always been one of the prime concerns and focus of the Department of Higher Education. The Department understands that Entrepreneurship plays a very important role in the economic development of the state and this objective can only be achieved by providing the Entrepreneurial Education to the youth, who wants to build their enterprises and become job creators of the nation.
How is the Department working towards creating an ecosystem of entrepreneurship among the students?
The Department has decided to provide an ecosystem to students where they become independent and earn by themselves through the promotion of entrepreneurship and freelancing opportunities. Students will be provided those skills and technical know-how which will help them in utilising various freelancing platforms and generate income parallel to their studies. It is believed that empowering the students and making them educated and self- reliant can only be achieved by providing the Entrepreneurial Education to the youth. We have signed a contract with an agency to execute this project.
We have also formulated a policy to establish Entrepreneurship Development Clubs (EDC) within the existing placement centres in all the State Universities, Government, aided and self-finance colleges of the state to inculcate ‘Entrepreneurial Culture’ amongst its youth and equip them with skills to act as job creators instead of being job seekers in future.
The EDCs are set up within the existing placement centres in all the higher educational institutions in the state. This would be a part of the Department’s drive to encourage innovation and entrepreneurship in the state. Through these EDCs, the Department of Higher Education, Haryana envisions a society of selfmotivated individuals’ kernel with a constructive and intense entrepreneurial drive leading to positive outcomes for the state. These EDCs would also facilitate campusindustry linkage on the higher education institutes of the state.
As per another policy, we are setting up Startup Incubators in Government colleges. At present, we have set up an incubator in Government College, Sector-1, Panchkula with overall 3,000 square feet of shell space. Various events including mentoring, pitching evenings, boot-camps, workshops for building the network of entrepreneurs are taking place which has witnessed huge responses from the students of Panchkula, Raipur Rani and Barwala colleges. The objective of these incubators is to encourage young entrepreneurs to build startups as well as create an innovation-centric atmosphere in various institutes of Higher Education, Haryana. The Department is setting up four more incubators in the Government Colleges of Karnal, Gurugram, Hisar, and Faridabad. Similarly, Incubators are set up in all State Universities.
To ignite the passion for Entrepreneurship amongst Higher Education students, the department has come up with annual startup competition – Startup Pratyogita (SUPRATI) from June 2019 in all the colleges and universities in the state. This competition is held in 31 colleges of excellence. The state-level committee will shortlist five startups and will be provided Rs 5 lakh seed money.
What is the role of Information Technology in the Department? Please share some of the major digital initiatives taken in this regard.
Haryana has recently launched its Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) solution under IT plan intending to automate its front-end and back-end processes. Some of the modules of this ERP are online admissions, web-portal, Mobile App, Human Resource Management System (HRMS), Learning Management System (LMS), Asses Management, Complaint and Grievances, examination, scholarships, placement, Fee Management etc. Not only the department but other stakeholders (like students) are being highly benefitted with the ERP.
To make information and tasks more accessible, we have developed a mobile App, Shiksha Setu, for its teachers and students. It offers features like Dashboards, Circular / News/ Events, Feedback, Notifications, Mark Attendance, Fee Detail, Health Detail, Results, Student Profile & Search, Image Gallery, Student Dashboard. Basically, Shiksha Setu is a common platform connecting teachers, students and administration for the Department of Higher Education.
To be a Door Opener for the students in a rapidly globalising world, it is important to follow the emerging Technological Trends that are shaping the future educational landscape. Evidently, enough latest interactive teaching is changing the role of education with the introduction of multimedia, and an innovative effort of an institution helps in its academic excellence. The technology of online education and all the digital initiatives can revolutionise higher education scenario in the near future. Accordingly, the department has devised a programme, DRISHTI (Digital Revolution in Information Studies in Haryana for Transformation and Innovation) to boost digital and e-learning in all colleges. Department has signed an agreement with CEC for developing e-content for various subjects. Workshop for more than 400 teachers of various subjects has been conducted in SUPVA for the use of e-content in teaching pedagogy.
How are you supporting the students of the state who are keen on pursuing higher education abroad?
To create awareness among students regarding premier Universities and Colleges outside India where further higher education can be explored, the department launched a project called PATANG. Principals to sensitise students of international courses and jobs and passport requirements and to appoint one teacher as Passport Officer in the college who will facilitate application procedure, appointment at the nearest passport office, faster police verification etc.
What are the major challenges of the education sector of Haryana and how are you planning to curb those?
One of the key concerns faced by our students is that the majority of them lack appropriate proficiency in soft skills and digital literacy. The lack of competence in soft skills and digital literacy is one of the major issues for the students to land with better job opportunities in leading National/ Multi-National companies in the private sector.
Hence, a clear intervention is necessary to facilitate them in equipping with Industry is driven soft skill and digital literacy skills and enhance their employability to required levels. The Department is taking various initiatives to overcome these shortcomings and augment the opportunities available for students in the state by working closely with the Academia, Industry Associations and individual consultants.
The state plans to include mandatory components of soft skill and digital literacy for its degree students to enable them to face the job market in a better manner and secure gainful employment of their choice.
How do you plan to bridge the gap between skill demand and supply? What are your plans to make the students job-ready from the very first day?
The Department of Higher Education is proposing a programme for Apprenticeship in Higher Education and Learning (PAHEL) for the youth of Haryana, to align the education curriculum with the needs of industry and service sectors, and promote an On-The-Job exposure to all students in skill sets of their choice and aptitude. A combination of classroom and hands-on learning would equip students with professionally relevant skills, boost their employability, and thereby contributing immensely to their self-confidence, apart from improving the overall human resource in the country.
What are your initiatives to strengthen the skill set of academia or educators?
To address comprehensively all issues related to teachers, teaching, teacher preparation, and professional development, the Department is preparing a Human Resource Development programme for teachers by collaborating with the premier Center of Excellence of various Universities and Institutes. It will help in upgrading knowledge and inculcating leadership and management skills.
Accordingly, the Department has devised programme named Scheme for Academic Staff in Higher Education & Administrator for Knowledge Transfer (SASHAKT) under which faculty members will be required to mandatory training of five to six days in a year in fields of pedagogies and techniques, leadership, management, development skills, and other relevant areas. This annual training programme will be a blend of online and offline mode. The Department is in process of signing Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with various reputed universities, the centres of excellence and other institutes to provide training to our faculty members.
How does the Department ensure the quality of education provided by the institutes of the state?
The department has developed a framework for quality Improvement in Higher Education Institutes termed as Performance Rating Yardstick for Academic Audit Standards (PRaYAAS). The objective is to facilitate strict and continuous monitoring of the performance of Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) in the state to improve the overall quality and enable them towards the path of excellence.
The framework has three components covering state and private universities, Government aided and self-financing colleges of the state. There are various parameters under 10 following components with a total weightage of 500 based on which the quality of the institutes are assessed:
- Academic quality ( 30 Marks )
- Teaching and learning quality (95 marks)
- Research Quality and Impact ( 25 Marks )
- Collaboration/Strategic Alliances ( 10 marks )
- Employability ( 80 Marks )
- Infrastructure ( 135 Marks )
- Inclusivity, Representation and Diversity ( 20 Marks )
- Student Engagement/ Support Services ( 40 Marks )
- Outreach activities and Social Impact ( 30 Marks )
- Governance and Management ( 35 marks)
Through PRaYAAS, we aim to identify gaps and challenges which are being faced by institutes. The overall objective of this framework is to encourage healthy competition and ensure a rewarding experience for Higher Education students.