Government committed to overhaul education infrastructure: Patil

New Delhi, Feb 22 (Calcutta Tube) From investing more in primary education to allowing foreign universities to open campuses in India, the central government is working to bring a paradigm shift in the educational infrastructure to further inclusive growth in the country, President Pratibha Patil said here Monday.

‘My government is committed to bringing about a paradigm shift in our educational infrastructure based on the three pillars of expansion, inclusion and excellence,’ Patil said during her address to parliament on the opening day of the budget session.

‘Investment in education is critical for accelerated inclusive growth. Government has made substantial investment in primary education through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the Mid Day Meal Programme, and is moving towards universalisation of education at the secondary level,’ she said.

President Patil said that The Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act 2009 has been notified to be effective from April 1.

‘A scheme to assist state governments is setting up 373 model colleges in educationally backward districts has been approved. A National Mission For Education through Information and Communication Technology has been launched to provide broadband connectivity to around 18,000 colleges and 400 universities in the country,’ she added.

The president also highlighted the government move to provide interest subsidy on education loans and a new scheme for adult education in over 360 backward districts of the country, where the literacy level is below 50 percent.

She said her government is committed to quality higher education and is planning to bring in a new legislation to allow foreign educational institutions to set up campuses in India.

‘Government is endeavouring to bring forward an appropriate legislation for facilitating the participation of globally renowned and quality academic institutions in our higher education sector, and for bringing in foreign education providers for vocational training and skill development,’ Patil said in her address.

Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal has mooted the idea. Now foreign varsities are likely to enter the Indian educational scene by opening campuses and offering joint degrees with Indian institutes.

To regulate higher education and research, Patil said ‘a National Council for Higher Education and Research will soon be established as an over-arching body’.

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