Sibal seeks consensus policy for higher education
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Last Updated: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 18:46
Patna: Observing that India cannot progress without educating its youths, Union Minister Kapil Sibal on Tuesday said political parties, civil society and media must reach a consensus for formulation of policies to take forward higher education in the country.

"Our country cannot make progress without providing education to its youths, particularly at the university level and for this political parties, civil society and the media need to rise beyond 'politics' for formulation of the national higher education policy," Sibal said.

The Human Resources Development minister was here to lay the foundation stone of the campus of the IIT, Patna at Bihta, about 30 km from here.

There was a serious need to promote higher education in the country given the fact that the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in the universities in the country stood at only 14 percent as against a minimum of 50 percent GER in the developed countries, Sibal said.

The Union Minister further said to the Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar, that he should not insist on setting up of a Central university at Motihari in East Champaran district but should provide more options about location of the proposed varsity being funded by the Centre.

The locational viability is one of the criteria of the setting up of a new Central university in Bihar and the state government should be flexible about its stand on the location of the proposed university, Sibal said after laying foundation stone of the IIT campus at Bihta, about 30 km from here.

Kumar, while speaking ahead of Sibal at the same function, had stressed that the Centre should set up the new Central university at Motihari in order to pay tribute to the Father of the Nation - Mahatma Gandhi, who had launched the civil disobedience movement against the British rule from Champaran in 1917.

"Champaran has been the karma bhumi of Mahatma Gandhi and therefore needed to treasured and developed as a hub of various activities, including education," Kumar said.

The Chief Minister further said the proposed university at Motihari will help revive the socio-economic and political significance of the region.

Apparently hinting that the Centre wanted to set up the new central university at Patna or in its vicinity, Kumar said it will not help in the inclusive growth of the state if only the region surrounding the state capital is developed.

Sibal agreed with the Chief Minister that Champaran indeed has historical and political significance in the context of the freedom struggle and Mahatma Gandhi's visit there, but the need of the hour was to address the 'struggle for education' and in this respect the viability of location should get precedence as far setting up of the new varsity was concerned.

He said the location viability was indeed a consideration for setting up the university in Bihar as such experiments in the past (when varsities were set up in remote places) have not served the purpose as teachers and other staffers have been unwilling to work in those places alleging poor infrastructure for their families.


First Published: Tuesday, April 19, 2011, 18:46

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