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Higher education in Northeast India witnesses rise post Covid

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Students in India’s Northeastern states are increasingly choosing a university or institution closer to home as the education landscape changes dramatically following Covid. Stakeholders ranging from parents to educators claim that, in the Covid period, regional universities have emerged as credible higher education challengers, rather than learners migrating to neighbouring states.

A thriving educational centre

Higher education

“My daughter, Lilia, has lately returned to Assam after graduating from Delhi University. She is passionate about fashion design and is currently studying at a prestigious private institute in Guwahati to pursue a career in the field. The college is well-equipped with modern amenities, just like any other college in India’s metro cities, and the faculty is excellent and cooperative. She gets to showcase her creations and network with senior professionals in the industry, even as a fresher. Security-wise, she feels a lot safer here,” says Manjari Kalita, a parent.

Prospective students consider quality, safety, and practicality while evaluating institutions, and Kalita believes local universities meet these criteria.

Add programmes to the school system to standardise it

Education in North East India is maturing, according to a consensus among stakeholders in the region. The goal, according to Narayan Chandra Talukdar, Vice Chancellor of Assam Down Town University, is to standardise the education system to meet global standards and compete favourably. The university offers over 64 programmes and has over 8000 students from 10 Indian states, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh, and even some African countries.

The North Eastern Indian states of Assam, Sikkim, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram, Tripura, and Meghalaya have launched an educational renaissance aimed at creating a system that works not just for Indians, but for anyone seeking the necessary skills and international exposure to function in today’s world.

Important in attracting international students

Regular programmes such as BCA, BBA, Sericulture, Travel and Tourism, Environmental Science, and others, as well as various professional courses, are opening up new vistas for excellent learning and research at these tertiary institutions. The cultural and natural diversity of the region exposes foreign students to a whole new experience.

Dr. Jayanta Kumar Sarmah, Joint Director, SCERT, Assam, stated that “the North East region has a natural setting with a wide range of resources for real time learning.” Agricultural science, with a concentration on biotechnology and forestry, is one of the most promising areas. “The government needs to take the initiative to provide world-class facilities in the institutions to run one or two specific need-based courses, which will have a tremendous impact on socio-economic development. This will definitely entice students from other states and countries,” he notes.

The imprints of Assam

According to the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) ranking, Assam has three institutions in the top 100 universities in India: Tezpur University, Gauhati University, and Dibrugarh University. In a similar line, three Assamese institutions are among India’s top 100 engineering institutes.

Things are now slow because of the Covid-19 crisis, but Mahanta is optimistic that once the situation improves, more students from all over the world would show interest.

“While we try our best to promote our education and culture, the government should provide international students with scholarship possibilities and advantages, as is done in other regions of India. When international students come to study in the North East, they become cultural ambassadors. We may reach a larger audience this way “he stated.

Also Read: Govt asks pregnant women to take both doses of COVID-19 Vaccine for future safety

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