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Published by Manoj Kumar C

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Published by: Manoj Kumar C on Apr 19, 2011
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The Northern region also lags the western and southern regions of the country

significantly in education and skill development. With an overall literacy rate of 60

per cent as against 69 per cent and 71 per cent in the South and the West, it is clear

that the education and skill infrastructure in the Northern region needs to address

certain critical issues – both on the supply side and the demand side.

Government expenditure on education, too, is declining in North Indian states

as compared to southern states like Kerala and Tamil Nadu. The study notes that over

the five-year period 2001-06, Punjab has spent less of its GDP (2.40 per cent in FY

05) on education compared to the India average (3.8 per cent in 05).

Moreover, there are fewer engineering and technical institutes in the northern

region. Although the number of engineering institutions in India is more than 1,500,

the region-wise distribution of institutions and sanctioned intake of students shows

significant regional disparity. Around 50 per cent of the engineering institutions are in

the southern region (including South-west), while the northern region has only 20

per cent.


A similar trend is seen for medical institutions. A large number of medical

colleges are concentrated in six states (Maharashtra, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh,

Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Gujarat. These states account for about 63 per cent of the

total number of medical colleges and 67 per cent of the number of seats. Medical

education, notes the study, is a crucial knowledge infrastructure necessary to ensure

human development, health services and welfare of the citizen population. North

India has to enhance its medical education infrastructure to match that of the Western

and Southern states.

Penetration of public Industrial Training Institutes (ITIs) and privately-owned

Industrial Training Centers (ITCs) —which impart vocational training — too appears

to be low in North India as compared to South. Maharashtra and Southern states like

Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, and Andhra Pradesh focus on vocational training at school

levels itself unlike northern states of Punjab, Bihar and Haryana where vocational

education penetration is very low at the school level.

The number of teachers in most of the Northern states, too, is not adequate to

meet the needs of the bourgeoning student population in the states. The pupil–teacher

ratio in states like UP (54) and Delhi (52) is very high compared to the Southern states

of Kerala (18), Karnataka (16) and Tamil Nadu (21). Teachers’ enrollment in the

training programmes in the Northern region, too, is very low compared to Southern

and western parts.

Moreover, preference for science and math education is declining in North

India which can hamber demands in field of IT, telecom, pharma, engineering and

R&D. English, too, is not enforced as a medium of instruction from the primary level.

To add to the woes, there's a urban-rural disparity in the northern region itself. And

lower female literacy in North India further multiplies the issue of low access to

education in north India.

Listing the positives, the study notes that some steps have been taken in this

direction. The Chandigarh Administration, for instance, is setting up a multi-

institutional Education City at Sarangpur, for which 16 sites, measuring 6 acres each

on long lease have been set aside. And the once agrarian state of Haryana is also

transforming itself into an education hub.

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