“The 22-crore school-going children of India are close to the 28-crore population of the United States. If I can get all my girls and boys into IITs, IIMs, polytechnics, model schools…imagine the kind of revolution it can bring about,” remarked Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal here on Monday.
He was speaking after laying the foundation stone for National Institute of Technology-Karaikal.
Mr. Sibal said that in-principle assent was accorded in 2007, when 20 Regional Engineering Colleges were converted into NITs. However, considering the demand for institutions of technical education, it was decided to set up 10 more NITs, with the focus on the North-East and other educationally backward regions. NIT-Karaikal was one of them.
The NIT would begin functioning on an ad-hoc basis from July 20 on the premises of Arignar Anna Government Arts College with NIT-Trichy as the mentor institution.
In the initial years it would offer three courses, ECE, EEE and IT, with an intake of 30 students in each. B. Tech with about 60 seats in the fourth year and an M. Tech with 30 seats in the fifth year would be introduced. Of the current 90 seats proposed, 50 per cent would be shared between students of Puduchery and Andamans. Acquisition for about 300 acres was under progress at Poovam and Thiruvettakudi for NIT-Karaikal.
To Chief Minister V. Vaithilingam's request that the Central quota for Puducherry in NITs should remain undisturbed, Mr. Sibal said the existing quota would remain untouched.
Terming the initiative of setting up an NIT “historic,” Leader of the Opposition A.M.H. Najim called for the setting up of a Kendriya Vidyalaya within its premises.
V .Narayanasamy, Union Minister of State for Planning, Parliamentary Affairs and Culture, called for incremental additions in the form of an IIT, IIM and “PPP-mode model schools,” to initiate private-public participation.
The occasion also witnessed inauguration of 60 classrooms in 35 schools funded under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan.
M.O.H.F. Shahjahan, Minister for Higher and Technical Education; R. Radhakrishnan, Speaker, Puducherrry Assembly; M. Kandasamy, Minister for Welfare and Co-operation; and Franklin Laltinkhuma, Collector of Karaikal, were among those present.