Ruing that 35 per cent of the country’s population was still illiterate, Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu on Thursday said the Centre has drafted a new policy to ensure quality education at affordable cost to everyone. The central government has drafted a new education policy with accessibility, equity, quality, accountability and affordability as its cornerstones, he said.
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“These are the five pillars of the new national education policy. The objective is to ensure quality education at affordable cost to everyone,” he said. He was addressing a meeting at the foundation stone laying ceremony of Vellore Institute of Technology’s Andhra Pradesh campus at Ainavolu village in the capital region Amaravati.
The Union Information and Broadcasting minister also called for a nation-wide debate on the new education policy and said universities should also take part in it.
“It is a shame to all of us that 35 per cent of our population is still illiterate even all these years after Independence. It is a shame for the country, the system and the political leadership that 35 per cent of people cannot read or write. This should be taken as a challenge,” he said. Naidu also stressed the need for more focus on research activity.
“We need more research scholars as we are lacking in research. While China has 39 per cent PhDs, India has only 3.40 per cent. In China, enrolment in engineering courses is 34 per cent compared to just six per cent here,” he pointed out. As many as one lakh professionals were leaving the country every year, causing a resource loss of USD 2 billion, Venkaiah said, quoting a report by United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO).
“There is nothing wrong in going abroad. You go, learn, earn and return,” he remarked. Observing that the “Soviet model of socialism” did not suit India, Naidu said the government and the private sector should work together to further development.
“We have to hone the local talent and encourage it. As part of that public-private partnership is essential to set up institutions. We have to create wealth so that it can be distributed to all,” the Union Minister noted. Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu laid the foundation stone for the 200-acre campus being set up at a total cost of about Rs 2,000 crore.
This is the first educational institution to be coming up in Amaravati, where the state government is planning to develop an education city.