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
"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.