GUWAHATI: Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma voiced concerns over Assam’s higher education landscape, highlighting the state’s lag in innovation compared to its counterparts.
Speaking at Cotton University in Guwahati on Monday during a welcome event for Vice President Jagdeep Dhankhar, Sarma remarked on the unfortunate transformation of Assam’s universities into “mere degree mills.”
“We are establishing universities across Assam for new and innovative ideas, but unfortunately, they are becoming mere factories of producing graduates and post-graduates. We trail states like Karnataka in education by at least two decades,” Sarma commented.
He further stressed the urgency for Assam’s academic institutions to ignite a revolution of fresh and innovative ideas. “While India celebrated the monumental achievement of Chandrayaan’s moon mission, I’m unaware of any local university workshops focusing on this groundbreaking event,” he observed.
Suggesting a forward-looking approach, the Chief Minister highlighted the importance of collaboration with eminent institutions domestically and globally to remain relevant and competitive.
“In this era, no university can function in isolation. Mutual collaboration with premier institutions is vital. We must also align our curriculums with the evolving demands of various industries, preparing for both Assam’s and the world’s future,” he said.
Sarma recommended establishing academic partnerships with renowned institutions like the IITs, IISc, and the Indian Institute of Information Technology.
“Personally, I’d only visit a university if I believe it can offer innovative insights. Universities should become hubs of innovation,” he insisted, adding that faculty play a pivotal role in this transformation.
He urged faculty members to engage in discussions that envision the next quarter-century for Assam, addressing critical concerns such as the Brahmaputra’s environmental challenges and also pollution.
Reaffirming the government’s dedication to fostering innovation within academic establishments, Sarma stressed on the importance of equipping institutions for future challenges.
“Our government is keen on forging international collaborations with top-tier universities. We must broaden our horizons,” he concluded.