The founder and Chancellor of Vellore Institute of Technology, G. Viswanathan,  has urged the Central government to provide scholarship support to ensure that anyone who is eligible and aspires for higher education can access it.

Dr. Viswanathan made the remarks during his address to students on the occasion of India’s 72nd Independence Day celebrations at the VIT Campus, Vellore. Earlier, he took the salute at a march past by NCC Cadets, and unfurled the national flag.

He made the comments while decrying India’s GER, or Gross Enrollment Ratio. As quoted by news agencies, he said, “Though we are doing well in school education, there is a lot to be done in respect of higher education. India’s gross enrolment ratio — the ratio of the youth in the relevant age group to those who are pursuing education — is just 25%, whereas it ranged between 50% and 100% in advanced countries”.

Out of the 14 crore children who are eligible for higher education, he further stated, India could accommodate only 3.5 crores.

One of the main reasons he attributed to corrupt medical practices in medical examinations, for instance, was this skewed GER. Every year, almost 15 lakh candidates apply for undergraduate medical seats, while only around 60,000 seats are available in the entire country.

To ensure the growth of the country, he added, it is imperative to facilitate employment to all able-bodied persons.

Dr. Viswanathan did praise India’s efforts in combating illiteracy. The literacy rate, which was 18% during Independence, had increased to 74% in the last 71 years.

The Chancellor of VIT also praised India’s rising GDP. With a GDP of $ 2.59 trillion, India had overtaken France, and was now the world’s sixth largest economy, behind the U.S., China, Japan, Germany and U.K. Addressing the students, he said, “If all of us work hard, we can compete with the above five countries”.

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