New Delhi: Observing that access to elementary education would be a focus area in the 12th Plan, President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday said equal attention should be also provided to skill development of youth in large scale.
"It is equally vital to carry forward the important task of skill development in our youth if we want to fully realise the dividends from the demographic orientation of our country," he said while referring to the recently launched National Vocational Education Qualification Framework (NVEQF).
The framework provides for horizontal and vertical mobility between vocational and general education.
"The task of skill building should be taken up on a very large scale so as to properly equip and motivate the youth of our country for jobs and the country`s economic growth," he said at a function here commemorating the National Education Day.
Access to elementary education is an area of priority focus in the 12th Five Year Plan, he said, adding that at present, the number of schools has increased to 13.04 lakhs.
The National Education Day is observed to celebrate the birth anniversary of freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, who was also the first education minister of the country.
Mukherjee said the enactment of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 is a "culmination of Azad`s dream" and a promise of the directive principles of the Constitution.
The President, on the occasion, announced the launch of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute of Peace and Sustainable Development here, the first UNESCO category-I institute in Asia.
"It is indeed befitting that the institute is named after the Father of our Nation, Mahatma Gandhi and is being launched today on the birth anniversary of another great son of India, Maulana Abul Kalam Azad," he said.
The announcement was made in the presence of UNESCO director general Irina Bukova, HRD Minister MM Pallam Raju, MoS in HRD Ministry Shashi Tharoor and Jitin Prasada among others.
The core business of the institute will lie in research and capacity development, supporting education reforms and innovation in education for peace and sustainable development especially in the Asia-Pacific region, said an institute brochure.
An expert advisory body has been appointed to provide guidance and initial strategic priorities for the institute.
Chaired by former diplomat Lalit Mansingh and comprising leading international educationists, the advisory body will work with the director of the institute in the developing programmes in the domains of expanding knowledge base, providing technical advice and building networks and partnerships.