One of the most mineral rich states in the country, Bihar sits in the North east of India, touching Nepal. Home to one of the greatest Indian empires, the Maurya Empire, Bihar has always been the seat of learning and culture. With the scholars of Magadha and the origins of Buddhism, it has always been high on the education quotient. It’s no wonder that the maximum number of candidates appearing and clearing Indian Administrative Services are from the state. The Education system of the place has been robust, with the ancient universities of Nalanda and Vikramshila. The British rule further saw the strengthening of the education system with the formation of the Patna University in the year 1917. Besides, they also set up engineering and medical colleges. Prince of Wales medical College which is now Patna Medical College and Hospital and Bihar School of Engineering which is now National Institute of Technology, Patna are some of the fine examples of the education level in the state.
After Independence however, Bihar saw a sea change as educational disparity became rampant with the interiors and smaller towns being eluded from the education juggernaut. The disparity was evident as the literacy ratio started falling and came to be among the lowest in the country. With high population and majority of the population living in smaller towns and villages, the education policy had to have a paradigm shift in its approach. There was a huge migration of students aspiring to make it big as lack of high quality educational institutes started pinching the local population. Although there were institutes like the University of Patna, IIT and NIT, but the numbers were few.
This problem was taken seriously into account and a pro government approach saw unprecedented rise in the technical as well as non technical institutes in the state. After the year 2000, lot of quality institutes came into force which started showing results as the literacy ratio especially among women started rising.
Bihar has been active in imparting engineering education through various public and private colleges all across the state. Starting with the famous Indian Institute of Technology, Patna, which came into being in the year 2008. It put Bihar, which already had the national Institute of Technology built in 1900, high on the map of technical education in the country. Besides, there are nine quality, privately funded colleges in the state which are being run by the private sector. More colleges are coming up in Begusarai, Sitamarhi and Madhepura. Colleges like NSIT in Bihita, MIT in Muzaffarpur and BCE in Bhagalpur are considered at par with any engineering college in the country. Patna Science College under the Patna University is also among the top science colleges in the state. Apart from these, private engineering colleges like the Birla Institute of Technology and Maulana Azad College of Engineering have also made a mark in the field of engineering education.
With Patna Medical College established way back in 1925 and the relatively new All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Patna (AIIMS) coming up in Bihar, the level of medical education has really been on the high in Bihar. 1970 saw the coming up of the Nalanda Medical College which further set the precedent. Indira Gandhi Institute of Medical Sciences also came up in the 1983 and is among the top medical colleges in the country. Besides, Bettiah Medical College, Rajendra Memorial research institute of Medical Sciences and Patna Dental college are also contributing towards imparting quality medical education to the students of Bihar and from all over the country.
Besides these, there are many pharmacy, nursing, BDS, and other medical institutes spread all across the state which have helped stem the flood of migration of students from Bihar in search of education. The state has also been a leader in Yoga and Yogic studies with the internationally acknowledged Bihar School of Yoga situated in Munger leading from the front. Many students from all over the country, as well as from abroad, throng to this institute for studies in Yoga. National Institute of Fashion Technology and Chanakya national law university further complete the state’s portfolio in education. With a sound university system, led by the University of Patna, Nalanda University and the six others, the state of Bihar is an educational powerhouse to reckon with.
The universities of Bihar have a very celebrated past and normally dominate education scenario of the state. Some of them are amongst the ancient universities of higher education in the country. Most of them offer a broad range of courses in diverse disciplines. Some also offer specialized courses for the students besides the usual degree programs. Several latest universities opened by state government like Chanakya National Law University, a national law university and a management school called Chandragupt Institute of Management, have got acknowledgment from all across India.
Patna, the capital of Bihar has also surfaced as a leading center for engineering and civil services training. The important private IIT-JEE training establishments have opened up their branches in Bihar and this has lessened the number of students who either go to Kota or Delhi for medical or engineering coaching. Plagued with the crisis of brain drain, the government is also mulling over permitting private universities in the State.
The move could propose to be significant as a growing number of students from the state are opting for institutes in Delhi, Bangalore, Pune, Chennai and other metros for studying medical, engineering, management or law.
There was a time when most people looked down upon Bihar and barely anyone outside the country apart from Indians knew about the state! But today is a changed setting, Bihar is being renowned and written about in numerous important publications in the country and abroad.
In few coming years the state is expected to be the next education hub of the country. Lakhs of students every year migrate to the state for their education needs. Several of the Bihari students also migrate to Delhi, Maharashtra for further studies.