Union Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani Sunday said that just because Indian higher education institutes do not figure in the global rankings does not mean the country was lagging behind in higher education and quality research.
Irani referred to the country’s “plurality” and said that the “unique nature and temperament” of India was not taken into consideration in global rankings. “A lot of hue and cry is raised about our higher education institutes not figuring in global ranking. The reason is not lack of high quality research work but the fact that in India, a large section of research work is done in vernacular languages, whereas global rankings only consider research in English,” she said at a national seminar on new education policy, organised by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), the BJP’s student wing.
Irani, however, admitted that the “lack of awareness” among Indian researchers regarding patents and getting their research works published in international journals were among the key reasons behind the current situation.
The minister also announced that on December 25 she would dedicate the digitised version of 29 undergraduate (UG) books to the nation. She termed the initiate as “e-UGshala”.
\”We have about 29 undergraduate texts, visuals, self-assessment sheets and books of science, social science and languages. On December 25, I will dedicate e-UGshala to the nation where all these books will be available to students free of charge,” she said.
She added that if successful, the ministry would then consider enhancing it to the post-graduate (PG) level, provided an initiative from all quarters was taken to take the e-pathshala to the grassroots level.
She said the Centre had been striving to ensure that the education in the country was not expensive. “Swayam will be another project of the Central government. With the help of all central universities, IITs and IIMs, a platform will be created in which over contents of over 2.5 lakh hours will be available. Study materials for exams of all certificate, degree and diploma courses besides classes IX to XII will be available free,” she said.
She added that 1000 examination centres would be earmarked where a students could take test for whichever course they want. “Exam fees will depend on the course but it will not be more than Rs 1000,” Irani said.