(BiharTimes) I heard recently Nitish Kumar and his spokesman Tiwari talking in two programmes on small screens- Nitish Kumar on CNBC-Awaz (Uttar Uday) and Tiwari on NDTV India (Mukabla).
Nitish talked about the necessity of education- elementary, higher education and skill building to cash on the state’s strength of human resources that in number grows at much higher rate than what the rest of India does. I can’t say Nitish and his government has not done anything for education. However, Bihar’s progress in education is only a little better than dismal.
Bihar must be sending about 90% of its students for higher education outside the state. One can find the students of Bihar in every university, engineering and medical college, as well management school in all states of the country. It means higher cost for the parents who bear the expenditure. Bihar’s political leadership before and even with Nitish could hardly do anything to improve the condition.
Bihar stands nowhere in number of seats for professional colleges and higher education if one compares it with any state, be it Uttar Pradesh or even West Bengal and Orissa. Even after the five years of the Nitish rule in Bihar, the situation has hardly improved. And whatever institutes got proposed or set up, they all are in and around Patna. Many expected Nitish with engineering degree would have focused on higher education and would have taken lessons from the growth of higher professional education institutes in Andhra Pradesh that has today 460 of them. But basically Nitish has failed to do much.
Bihar even in last five years could not stop the deterioration of the condition of government primary schools, and the high schools. Most of the high schools in rural Bihar are hardly left with any good teachers. Infrastructure is nonexistent. If anyone doesn’t agree with me, I request him to let me know about those institutes that are exceptional.
Nitish Kumar did also referred to the need of skill development. But his government did hardly anything to scale up the capacity of the existing ITIs and polytechnics or took any step to improve the quality of teaching and training at these institutes. Bihar neither set up new skill development centre nor used any innovative means to improve the skills of the apprentices using local talents. I sincerely doubt if those running these ministries have any missionary zeal to bring the changes.
I feel shore as I never heard anything in media or from my friends in Bihar if Nitish has ever talked to improve the capacity and quality of professional education in Bihar or sought help of educationist from Bihar to improve its condition.
I wish Nitish would not have stopped blaming the centre for fund for everything and would appealed to the people for investing in education sector, facilitated easy entry, and incentivize better performance.
His job is to find ways and means to arrange his part of the finance to implement effectively the Right of Education Act rather than just blaming the centre. Can’t he find or try to find some Malviya (BHU) for Bihar? Can’t he create an education fund and ask NRBs (Non Resident Biharis) and all those who can to contribute to this fund? Can’t he impress on the parents of Bihar to dissuade their children from cheating at examinations? In today’s world, no certificate has any value if one has no knowledge and is not capable to communicate. ‘Job through recommendations’ era has become history.
I hardly agree with Nitish’s way of handling Naxalites and his advices to Chidambaram. He has not been able to do much on Naxalite menaces. I couldn’t travel to Rohtas Garh during my last visit to my home district. Let Nitish prove his methodology to handle the Maoism problems in Bihar where the trouble is still of pretty low intensity, and then talk big. It was just shocking to hear Tiwari’s views on Naxalite problems as it stands today.
I don’t mean that Nitish has not done anything and he is to be replaced in coming election rather I wish he gets one more time elected and works effectively with a development focus, particularly for education and healthcare. The disgruntled people particularly, of so-called forward communities of the state must not make the mistake of getting Nitish defeated. He is the only chance for the state at this moment.
After dethronement from the central cabinet, Lalu and Ram Vilash have settled in Patna to make a comeback. With Lalu and Ram Vilash after Nitish’s blood, Nitish will have to exhibit his political shrewdness for a win.
Media has very lately covered Nitish very well. Be it Times group, New York Times or Economist. I consider that media management by Nitish has been excellent.
And I join Saibal Gupta and wish that voters choose Nitish again: “We hope that voters will choose development over caste. But in Bihar one never knows.”
I am sure the voters in Bihar will go for the right choice.
The views expressed by the author are personal.