Event: 6th Mail Today Education Conclave
Venue: Hyatt Regency Hotel, Bikaji Cama Place, New Delhi
Date: 10th October 2017
Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development Dr Satyapal Singh on Tuesday said education should be made accessible and affordable to all but it remains a challenge for the government.
“It remains a big challenge for the government to make education accessible and affordable,” Singh said while addressing an education conclave being organized by Mail Today.
“Education is fundamental to one’s life, for the growth of any society and for the growth of any country. In addition to compulsory education, we must provide quality education to our children,” he added.
He deliberated on how quality education can be improved in all sectors – public schools, private schools and government schools.
“If freedom and choice are given, nobody would like to send their children to government schools. If you can afford, you would like to send your children to private schools because of the quality of education imparted is comparatively better,” Singh said.
While inaugurating the event, the minister said, “While education standards have been maintained in the southern states of our country, the situation remains grim in the northern part of India. It poses a challenge to the government and the quality needs to be upgraded. But how do we improve it? This is where the government’s accountability comes into the picture.”
Touching upon another challenge in the education sector, the union minister said, “The government has to ensure that in addition to accessible and affordable education, children should be provided with equitable and quality education.”
Presenting his government’s work in the education sector over a period of three years, Singh, “The government has managed to open six IIITs and one NIT this year. Looking forth, based on the assessment of how students are benefiting from education, learning outcomes have been derived by the government which will be implemented from this academic session.”
“The government has done away with no-detention policy, a move taken by the Prakash Javadekar led HRD ministry earlier this year – a major reform to improve deteriorating education standards,” he added.
The union minister appreciated the country’s contribution to world’s ‘knowledge bank’, saying, “We’re contributing to the world’s knowledge by providing quality research. But at the same time, we also have to address the challenges our researchers are facing.”
Expressing concern over statistics for making higher education accessible and affordable, Singh said, “We should be concerned because, in our country, only 24.6 percent of the children have access to higher education. In the United States, it is 86 percent; in Russia, over 80 percent; and in China, 48 percent children have access to higher education.”
“Any good education imparted to the future workforce of our country and the children of today should have four basic ingredients. The first and foremost is textbook knowledge, followed by inclusion of teaching students about culture and civilisation – which is an indicator of a civil society where women are educated, protected and respected. The third ingredient is educating students about righteousness and the fourth is teaching children to exercise control on mind on their thought process,” Singh said.
The minister said that the government is looking forward to a ‘New India’ free of four Cs – corruption, crime, casteism and communalism – by imparting affordable and accessible education to all.