Kolkata, Oct 21, 2010 (Calcutta Tube/IBNS): Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday called on the private sector and foreign investors to fill the deficit of universities and colleges that India is likely to face if the government attains its target of increasing enrollment in higher education by 2020.
Sibal had earlier said that his ministry aims to increase the enrolment in colleges and varsities from the current 12.4 percent to 30 percent of the total students attending school education which would translate to 40 million students by 2020.
Speaking at the Higher Education Conclave organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce here, the minister said that India’s current 12.4 percent gross enrolment ratio (GER) was “abysmally low” compared to global standards and radical steps were needed to drive it up.
“India will never attain double digit growth if unless education is taken seriously,” said Sibal, taking frequent digs at the corporate gathering for lack of participation in the “national initiative”.
To support the 40 million students that are expected by 2020, an estimated 800 new universities and 40,000 colleges are said to be required according to the HRD ministry’s calculations, Sibal said.
“And we can’t create that kind of infrastructure. And it is not even the government’s job to create that with public funding. Therefore we need the private sector and the foreign direct investment to take a pivotal role in moulding the country’s higher education,” he said.
However he warned of private players wanting to jump on to the education bandwagon to make quick bucks of the upcoming Education Malpractices Bill that will hold institutions liable for any claims that they make on their prospectus or on their website.
“If we find any institution that resorts to things like renting faculty on the days of inspection or making false claims of infrastructure — and we will know because the students will complain — the institution and responsible people will face sever action.”
The minister also spoke about the National Vocational Education Framework that was being framed by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to empower the rest of the 70 percent students that still would not make it to the higher education centres.
“The framework will be ready within the next one year and with it we are basically trying to set up vocationally oriented for students of class eight onwards. These will courses may include anything from carpentry to refrigerator repairing,” he said.
“Instead of complaining about the low employability of the students coming out of the system, we need you guys to come to us with a syllabus for these courses which would make them employable,” Sibal told the conclave participants which included industry honchos.