7th December 2018
It is well known that the way to convert human capital into economic strength is by providing the youth with quality education, skills and direction. Due to this higher education has come to be viewed as the golden ticket to a good job, good life, social mobility and overall socio-economic development.
In 1971 Sikkim’s literacy rate was only 17.74 percent, which was almost half of the national level, but from 1981 the literacy rate has increased manifold. Compare this to 2011 when the literacy rate rose to 82.20 per cent, an amazing feat indeed!
In Sikkim, despite the huge growth in number of institutions and infrastructure in the recent years, the quality of education is still not up to the mark. Faculty find the curriculum to be too theoretical, vast and inappropriate for graduate level studies and irrelevant to societal needs. Due to the evaluation process, there is limited motivation for learning among students. Most Sikkimese students can get admission in one of the many universities in Sikkim, but they must often compromise on their choice of courses due to the limited number of seats in specific courses and the enormous meritocratic competition. The other big problem that new graduates face in Sikkim is that of appropriate employment.
To correct this, the Government is providing more assistance to self-employed people and putting greater emphasis on vocational education. Chief Minister’s Self Employment Scheme is one such programme. The other is to ensure a diversity of job opportunities. Development of small-scale industries is being encouraged as this will lead to an increase in production, which is what ultimately creates demand for labour. The organic farming sector and the tourism sector are two vital pillars that will drive Sikkim’s economy in the future, where innovation from young graduates will help in revolutionising the outputs. More and more jobs will be generated in Sikkim as the economy moves to a higher order of value addition in all sectors.
Sikkim in the future – An education hub of Northeast and beyond
For the future of Sikkim, huge developments in the higher education sector will be key in ensuring stable economic growth. The large numbers of incoming students that Sikkim is receiving is proof of the huge potential of Sikkim’s education sector. Added to this is the attraction of learning in a State which offers peace and security to all, especially to women.
The North Eastern region as a whole is going through a phase of development, and education will be the next sector which will propel the region’s developmental status further. Sikkim is capitalizing on this opportunity to become the next big regional education hub by providing impressive infrastructure and a continually expanding list of colleges and courses offered in these colleges. India has been cited as the preferred destination for higher studies of many SAARC nations, especially students from Bhutan and Nepal. There are already many students coming in from these countries to Sikkim, but if these numbers can be given a further push through policy impetus and stronger physical connectivity, then Sikkim can emerge as the education hub, not just of North East India, but of the adjoining nations too.