By Hareesh K G
Education is the crest gate of the potential reservoir called human resource. With a country of over 1.3 billion population, it is an uphill task to provide quality education to students at an affordable cost. A large amount of capital from our national income has to be spared on education.
If we confine our study to Kodagu district only, the educational setup is satisfactory. We have 15 degree colleges, a post-graduation centre in Chikka Aluvara near Somwarpet, and at two degree colleges we have post-graduation options. A B.Ed college is in Virajpet. We have two engineering colleges – one each in Halligattu near Ponnampet and Kushalnagar.
A dental college is situated in Virajpet. Just two years ago a government medical college was established in Madikeri. ITI colleges are there at three locations. We have a forestry college in Ponnampet. A Sainik school is also there. Even though we have so many educational institutions still we are lagging behind in providing technical and professional education in our district.
Even though we have post-graduation centres in our district, they offer post-graduation in only limited disciplines. Till degree there are many options to choose from but in PG it reduces drastically. After PUC or Class 12, parents of students in science stream put their students in colleges in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi or Mysuru districts. Even though we have a good number of degree colleges, they don’t offer many degrees. We don’t have administrative master degree programmes here.
Even if we would able to introduce marketable streams here, because of lack of industries it is difficult to make the students to have practical experience. As a tourism hub there is ample of opportunity for start travel and tourism, hotel management and interior designing courses.
We are in a tricky situation. Unless some new courses begin, students won’t be attracted. Unless there is availability of students, it is not possible to open institutions that offer different courses. In the year 2004 itself a proposal put forwarded to start a separate university in Kodagu. But that issue has been sidelined since. If a separate university starts functioning here, there could be many changes. New employment opportunities will open up.
As Kodagu has conducive atmosphere for learning, it is possible to attract the students from different parts of the state and country. In our district, we have few efficient educational institutions. If a separate university steps in these institutions can be strengthened. A central university can also be started in our district since Kodagu is geographically different.
Manipal near Udupi should be a model for Kodagu in education field. Basic infrastructure plays a major role in educational development. Smooth transportation and communication facilities are very essential. People’s representatives and community itself has to take interest in bringing quality education to this land. Very sad but the fact is that we have failed miserably in this regard.
At least in future we have to pull up our socks. In this competitive world, the cost of education is spiraling. In a district where agriculture is the basic financial source, to get education at affordable cost is our pivotal responsibility.
(Hareesh K G is an Assistant Professor at First Grade College, Murnad, Kodagu.)