Rashmi Ranjan

In a major announcement, Odisha government has decided to offer free Wi-Fi to students.

As per the announcement by the Higher Education department, the students of colleges, universities and technical institutions across Odisha will get free Wi-Fi on the campus.

As per Higher Education minister Rohit Pujari, 1 GB data will be provided to all students of the higher educational institutions.

The free Wi-FI provision for students is aimed at enhancing the quality of education, Pujari added.

“All the state public universities have been made wi-fi enabled. The Electronics and Information Technology department is on the job to provide free 1 GB data to the students at the campuses of all public universities and colleges before the next academic session,” Pujari said.

He said career counselling cells have been established in various colleges and universities to provide a platform to students to orient themselves for choosing their career plans.

Similarly, free civil service coaching along with lodging and boarding will be provided to 200 meritorious civil service aspirants across all categories, the Minister informed.

Besides, training on soft skills such as spoken English, among others, are being conducted through virtual tutorials. Eleven Centres of Excellence (CoE) are in operation across the state, he stated.

Pujari said steps are being taken to set up science degree colleges in educationally disadvantaged blocks, he informed.

To encourage students to do research, Chief Minister Research Incentivisation Fellowship Plan (CMRIFP) has been launched with a budgetary outlay of Rs 326 crore for five years from 2023-24, he said.

Over a period of two decades, the number of students in the state has doubled from 3.2 lakh in 2000 to 6.5 lakh in 2023, out of which 3.8 lakh are girl students. Similarly, the gross enrolment ratio has also increased from 11 to 21 in the same time period, Pujari said.

This has been possible since the government is now spending more by enhancing the budget provision from Rs 473 crore in 2000 to Rs 3,173 crore in 2023, he pointed out.

Towards infrastructure development of higher education institutes, the government has made an expenditure of Rs 260 crore in 2022 against Rs 20 crore in 2000. The number of colleges have increased from 548 to 1,024 while state public universities from six to 16, he added.

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