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The Changing Scenario of Management Education in India
Prof. C. S. Venkataratnam, Member, FICCI Higher Education Committee & Director, IMI, New Delhi
Ms Shobha Mishra,
Joint Director & Team Leader, Education & Health Services Division, FICCI
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Education sector ripe for reform: MoS HRD

By A Staff Reporter

The education sector of the country is ripe for education reforms, especially in the context of globalisation, so that when our children grow up, they are armed with proper educational skills, able to shoulder the demands of increasing GDP and able to avail of the burgeoning job sector. This opinion was aired by D. Purandeswari, Union Minister of State for Human Resource Development, while addressing the All India Editors Conference on Social & Infrastructure Issues at Guwahati recently. The minister pointed out that the country’s higher education Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) of 12.4 per cent while being commendable considering the largeness and diversity of the country would need to be raised to 30 per cent by 2020, in order to reap the demographic dividend of the country.

Purandeswari outlined the education schemes of the country. She especially highlighted the Right to Education Act (RTE) which gives every child in the age group of 6 -14 years, the right to free and compulsory education. She pointed out that the government is dovetailing the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan into the RTE. She appealed, through the media, to the state governments to come forward with full vigour to implement the RTE. She also stated that for SSA, in 2010-11, a total outlay of Rs1767.59 crore has been approved by the Project Approval Board for the NE Region. She highlighted the mid-day meal scheme of the government where cooked meals are being provided to all elementary school children (13 crore).

The minister stated that in order to absorb the large number of students coming out of elementary schools as a result of the SSA, the Government has launched the Rashtriya Madhyamic Shiksha Abhiyan, through which lower secondary schools will be set up every three kilometres and higher secondary schools every five kilometres.

She pointed out that in the context of government’s overall policy aimed at empowerment of women and in recognition of the fact that literacy is a pre-requisite for socio-economic development, the National Literacy Mission has been recast as ‘Saakshar Bharat’. At least 70 million non-literates will be made literate to achieve 80 per cent literacy. To reduce gender disparity in literacy from 21 per cent to 10 per cent, 60 million out of the total target of 70 million will be women.

The minister also pointed out the reforms the government is undertaking in the higher education sector, especially in the context of the Northeast. She stated that 374 new degree colleges are to be established all over the country one each in such district, which has Gross Enrolment Ratio (GER) below the national average. Forty four such colleges are to be established in the NE Region.

The minister, speaking about the sprawling network of the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), said that at present the IGNOU has eight regional centres and 429 learner supporting centres in the region.
Purandeswari underlined that out of the 10 new NITs proposed to be opened in the country during the XIth Five-Year Plan, six NITs are proposed to be opened in Arunachal Pradesh, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim, as approval of the Union Cabinet has been obtained.