Vice President Naidu expresses concern over skills, employability, and quality of education

Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu on Friday stressed on the Indian education system and said the country needs an education system with greater emphasis on history, heritage and culture.

“The time has come for us to come out of colonial mindset and this is possible only through proper education system with greater emphasis on Indian history, heritage and culture,” Naidu said.

While addressing the valedictory function of the Golden Jubilee celebrations of Hindustan Group of Institutions in Chennai, the vice president said the country’s education system must inculcate strong ethical, moral and humanistic values.

“While acquiring knowledge from across the globe, the students must remain rooted to India’s glorious culture, traditions, ethos and heritage,” he added.

Recalling the profound words of Mahatma Gandhi, the vice president said that literacy in itself is no education.

“Literacy is not the end of education or even the beginning. By education, I mean an all-round drawing out of the best in the child and man-body, mind and spirit,” he added.

He further said that education does not end with mere acquisition of knowledge or degrees as it is aimed at holistic development of an individual, who will be able to face the challenges of a fast-changing world with vision of a seer and temperament of a scientist.

“Education must help in building the character, capacity, caliber and promoting proper conduct,” he said, adding, “Education is for empowerment, enlightenment, enhancement of knowledge and to seek gainful employment.”

The vice president called everyone in the education sector to come forward to address the critical issues in the education system such as high dropout ratio, obsolete syllabus, conventional pedagogy, lack of industry-institute linkage, lack of research awareness and shortage of trained teachers.

“Today, we have 864 universities and around 51000 institutions of higher learning in 2016-17,” he said, adding, “Though India has the third largest education system in the world, our average Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) is still at 25 per cent, lower than many of the developing economies in the world, mainly due to the lack of adequate educational infrastructure and financial resources to cater to our large population.”

The vice president said that the government has set a target of achieving minimum 30 per cent average GER by 2020 which translates to 40 million students.

“To achieve this challenge, we need a paradigm shift from the conventional approach with focus on innovation and new teaching and learning methods,” he added.

The vice president reiterated that even though India has large number of higher educational institutions, most of these institutions and universities are not able to compete with other global universities, which is evident from the world university rankings.

“The government took a serious note of this and the Prime Minister has announced a financial assistance of INR 10,000 crore to 20 institutions in both private and public sector for a period of 5 years to achieve world class university status,” he said.

Highlighting various challenges in the education sector, the vice president said that one of the primary challenges the country faces is the lack of employable skills in most of the graduates.

“Only around 15 per cent of our graduates are equipped with the required professional skills and knowledge. One of the main objectives of education is to equip the youth with employable and entrepreneurial skills,” he said, adding, “It should create assets in the form of knowledge and skills which is referred to as human capital. We need to empower our youngsters with requisite skills to gain and retain appropriate gainful employment.”

The vice president said that apart from technical/vocational skills, the educational institutes must impart better communication and problem-solving skills.

“We need to ensure that our youth develop capabilities for critical and analytical thinking,” he said.