11th Five Year Plan is India’s education plan: PM

September 4th, 2008 - 5:52 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Sep 4 (IANS) Felicitating the teachers who were awarded the National Teachers’ Award here Thursday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that education was a priority for the government and the 11th Five Year Plan is the education plan of the country.“Investment in the education sector, especially in the areas of school education, has increased manifold in the last four years. The 11th Five Year Plan can be described as an education plan for our country,” Singh said Thursday, on the eve of the Teachers Day.

Highlighting the government’s various initiatives to make education accessible to all, he said that several new scholarship schemes are being implemented for educational development of children belonging to the Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, Other Backward Classes and religious minorities as well as the girl child.

Admitting that the number of children out of schools is still high, Singh said: “As a result of various interventions, the number of out-of-school children has come down substantially. But it is still much too high and we must make determined efforts to reduce this further.”

“Intervention such as the supply of free textbooks, uniforms, remedial classes, provision of hostel facilities for girls has shown positive results. Equal emphasis is being laid on the improvement of quality,” he said.

“I must admit that the dropout rate in our school system continues to be a cause of serious concern and we have to make determined efforts to reduce it significantly,” he added.

Talking about the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan, a new programme besides the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, Singh said that under it, access to secondary school will be enhanced by improving the quality of education in the school.

He said: “6,000 new high quality model schools with at least one school in each development block are also planned to set the pace for improvement of quality.”

Further highlighting the various initiatives in the education sector, Singh said that 373 new colleges have been opened in the backward districts of the country.

“We have also announced opening of 30 new universities, eight new Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), seven Indian Institutes of Management (IIM) and 20 Indian Institutes of Information Technology, five Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, two schools of planning and architecture and ten National Institutes of Technology and 1,000 new polytechnics,” he added.

Singh also laid emphasis on professional development of teachers and said that along with their normal pre-service and in-service training, special training in Information Technology has also been planned.

“Teachers empowered with information technology skills will make classrooms more interesting and activity-oriented,” he said.

“There is an urgent need to initiate reforms in curricula, examination systems and development of text books in the light of the national curriculum framework of 2005. In all these matters, I seek active involvement and cooperation of the teaching fraternity,” Singh added.

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