Need stake holders to liberalise education in India: Montek

August 2nd, 2008 - 1:50 am ICT by IANS  

A file-photo of Manmohan Singh

Pune, Aug 2(IANS) The Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia Friday said the education sector needs some “vocal stake holders” to bring about liberalization. Speaking during the inauguration of the Symbiosis School of Economics here Friday, Ahluwalia said liberalization of the Indian industry had come after a lot of cajoling on part of the industry representatives. “Similarly, education too needs some vocal stake holders to bring about liberalization.”

Ahluwalia was responding to Symbiosis International University Chancellor S.B. Majumdar’s complaint about the huge amount of red-tapism in the education sector. “In 1991, Dr Manmohan Singh gave freedom to Lakshmi (goddess of wealth), I want to ask you when are you going to give freedom to Saraswati (goddess of knowledge).”

At present only 11 percent of Indians pursue higher education, which Ahluwalia said is not acceptable. The Planning Commission has set a target of 21 percent in the 11th Five Year Plan. “Given our population we need double the number of colleges and this is not possible through public sector participation alone, we need a private sector to pitch in.”

He also expressed concern over the current slow down in the economic growth of the country. “While we have been consistently for the last four years recording 8.9 percent GDP growth rate, this year we might just be able to do 8 percent.”

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