PM reiterates government’s thrust on higher education

July 22nd, 2008 - 10:27 pm ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

New Delhi, July 22 (IANS) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Tuesday reiterated his government’s commitment to giving a major boost to higher education by setting up “world class” universities and quality institutions including more Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs). “We have initiated a major thrust in expanding higher education. The objective is to expand the gross enrolment ratio in higher education from 11.6 percent to 15 percent by the end of the 11th (Five-Year) Plan and to 21 percent by the end of the 12th Plan,” Manmohan Singh said while replying to the debate on the trust vote in the Lok Sabha.

“To meet these goals, we have an ambitious programme which seeks to create 30 new universities, of which 14 will be world class, eight new IITs, seven new IIMs, 20 new IIITs (Indian Institutes of Information and Technology), five new IISERs (Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research), two Schools of Planning and Architecture (SPAs), 10 NITs (National Institutes of Technology), 373 new degree colleges and 1,000 new polytechnics,” he said.

He added: “And these are not just plans.

“Three new IISERs are already operational and the remaining two will become operational from the 2008-09 academic session. Two SPAs will be starting this year. Six of the new IITs start their classes this year. The establishment of the new universities is at an advanced stage of planning,” the prime minister elaborated.

He also said that a “nationwide skill development programme and the enactment of the Right to Education Act” are in the pipeline.

The prime minister also said the government’s “pro-poor” flagship programmes like the National Rural Employment Guarantee Scheme, Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and Bharat Nirman “to improve the quality of rural infrastructure of roads, electricity, safe drinking water, sanitation, and irrigation” and the National Rural Health Mission “are yielding solid results”.

“But a great deal more needs to be done to improve the quality of implementation,” he added.

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