New Delhi: The recently passed Right of
Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act will give an
estimated 160 million children, who are presently out of
school, access to quality education, HRD Minister Kapil
Sibal said on Wednesday.
The country will need millions of teachers to meet the
goal of `Education For All` by 2015 and to provide secondary
and vocational training to youths, he said at the National
Education Day function organised to commemorate the birth
anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first education
minister of independent India.
He said the higher education sector is facing major
challenges of access, ensuring excellence, increasing global
interaction and the growing use of technologies.
Sibal said the Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) in higher
education, which is 12.4 per cent, is unacceptable. The
government wants to increase the GER to 30 per cent by 2020,
he said. The global average of GER is 23 per cent.
On the occasion, UNESCO Director General Koichiro
Matsuura was conferred with Degree of Doctor of Literature
(Honoris Causa) by National University for Educational
Planning and Administration (NUEPA).
This is the first doctorate degree to be given by NUEPA
which was given university status three years ago.
The NUEPA organised a special convocation to give away
the honour to the UNESCO chief for his contributions in the
field of education. Matsuura has been serving as the UNESCO
chief for the last ten years.
In his convocation address, Sibal, who is also the
president of NUEPA, highlighted the role of planning and
administration in education.
Matsuura said that UNESCO will launch a three-week
programme to celebrate the cooperation between India and
He also announced that A Parsuramen has been appointed as
the director and UNESCO representative to India.