Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal decries politicisation of education

first_imgUnion Hhuman Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal on Friday spoke against the politicisation of education in the country. He was critical of the state governments and lamented their reluctance to reform the education system.Citing the example of 13 key Bills of his ministry that are stuck in Parliament, Sibal, who was speaking at the India Today Aspire Education Summit 2012, made a strong case for distancing politics from education.Everybody is thinking of when and how we will come to power. Where is the national vision? Nothing can be done unless political parties come together and realise that education is an area of national importance and should be a priority,” he said.I want to give degrees to students in the Indian Institute of Science, Education and Research (IISER), but I cannot because there is political consensus in the House,” he added, referring to the non- passage of the NIT Act Amendment) Bill 2011 in the Rajya Sabha.This means that the students of IISER in Pune and Kolkata who completed their five-year course in the summer of 2011 are left in the lurch, without any degree.The minister, who has been on the defensive in the wake of recent disparaging reports (Programme for International Student Assessment and Assessment Survey Evaluation Research) the state of education in India, went on illustrate how the central government even though it attracts the maximum flak for deficiencies in the education system – has little role play in on- ground improvement.The biggest challenge, he said, was to get the states to implement the reform policies introduced by the Centre. And any bid to exert pressure is misinterpreted as “interference” in state governance.advertisement”We (the Centre) can introduce policies and allocate funds. But it’s impossible for us to monitor if a child is receiving quality education in Bihar or Orissa. The reality is that the implementation of policies happens at the state level,” he said.Calling the task of empowering 20 million children through education “herculean”, Sibal said India would not be able to join the ranks of developed countries unless it created a “critical mass” of youngsters who will pursue higher education.Currently, 16 of every 100 students in India reach university level, whereas the figure is 40 in the developed world. The government aims to increase the number of university-going students from 16 million to 45 million by 2020.This gap, Sibal said, can be bridged through effective implementation of the Right to Education Act which was introduced almost two years ago. It promotes inclusivity in education and will democratise classrooms.”The Act will create an environment to nurture that critical mass that will go to university by 2020,” the minister added.The Act will lead to efforts to admit and retain more children in schools, which would, in turn, lead to a build-up of pressure at the university level.The minister also asked the states to increase their budget allocation for education and called on them, as well as the private players, to help meet the need of an additional 1,000 universities in the future.last_img

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