Churu: There was great enthusiasm among students of this small town, some 200 kms from Rajasthan capital Jaipur, as they got an opportunity on Thursday to directly interact with Union Minister for Human Resource Development Prakash Javdekar and pepper him with questions on a variety of issues.
The interaction, under an initiative called "Sarthi", was officially launched on International Literacy Day at three centers -- Churu, Chaksu and Udaipur.
In Churu, about 500 students directly communicated with the minister as well as counsellors present at the three locations.
One student wanted the minister's views on the "controversy related to high scoring by some state boards... like Tamil Nadu", referring to students from the state getting admissions to prestigious Delhi University colleges because of their high grades.
"Don't you think CBSE and state boards need a uniform syllabus," asked the student.
The minister said the government is looking at instances such as these and was hoping to bring about some form of uniformity.
There was a question that since education is generally regarded as a slow-moving sphere of social policy, why has the ministry not been more pro-active?
"We are working towards bringing both qualitative and quantitative changes in education system," the minister said.
This Sarthi initiative is expected to enable the youth gain the latest information on career opportunities and courses across the country to enable them exercise their options.
In a first-of-its-kind initiative, Javadekar was also joined by eminent educational and career counsellors who tried to answer the queries of young students both on higher education and career opportunities.
This one-to-one engagement was a rare opportunity for many young people of Churu, a town known for its extreme temperatures in both summer and winter. It was especially a boon for those who cannot afford to travel on their own to cities like Mumbai, Delhi and Jaipur.
They could not have dreamt of such an exposure to eminent educationists and counsellors as was provided to them on this year's International Literacy Day through the joint efforts made by the Future Society, an NGO active in Churu since the last 8 years and the Vipra Foundation.
"This initiative will help rural youth to join universities and will provide them a platform and a proper path to build carrier," Future Society vice president Sushil Sharma told IANS.
The initiative will help and guide students from Churu and other remote parts of Rajasthan to make informed choices about their future -- be it higher studies or job opportunities, he said, adding: "Our effort will be to replicate this experiment on a larger scale both at the state and the national level."
"Employment is a big problem for both rural and urban youth in the country. The reason for this is not only lack of opportunities but also lack of proper information.
Sarthi hopes to bridge that gap," a statement said.
Rajasthan Labour and Employment Minister Surender Pal Singh said this project will certainly help in promoting the Make in India and Skill India initiatives.