The Union and State governments had been initiating many progressive schemes in the field of education with the objective of taking the country to new heights, said Union Minister for Shipping, G. K. Vasan, on Monday.

Inaugurating a library and auditorium named after former Chief Minister K. Kamaraj at S. P. J. Matriculation School at Avaniapuram near here, Mr.Vasan said that the United Progressive Alliance Government had made record fund allocation for construction of buildings, appointment of teachers, distribution of free textbooks and provision of free meal and drinking water. This had resulted in a considerable fall in percentage of school dropouts.

The Union Government had so far appointed 1.87 lakh school teachers and distributed free textbooks to nine crore children. New buildings had been opened in 52,431 schools and 1.75 lakh new classrooms constructed for students. There was also an enhanced allocation for higher education.

The Tamil Nadu Government was also implementing many schemes that made the State a front-runner on the education front, Mr.Vasan said. While so much money was ploughed into education by the government the role of the private sector in the field could not be ignored, he added. The UPA Government, in its earlier tenure, came out with schemes that reflected the aspirations of the people. As a stamp of approval, people gave the UPA a favourable mandate in the last general election, Mr.Vasan added.

Recalling the visionary role played by Kamaraj in making education accessible to all, Mr.Vasan said that the late leader believed that the nation would progress only through development in education. He laid a strong foundation for education in the State by starting schools in villages. He was also the author of the mid-day meal scheme and introduced uniforms in schools in order to prevent discrimination.

The Dindigul MP, N.S.V.Chiththan, advised the students to shun lethargy to succeed in life. Those who addressed the gathering included K.S.K.Rajendran, MLA, R.Gandhimathi, chairperson, Tirupparankundram municipality, A. G. S. Rambabu, former MP, and R. Chockalingam, president, Kannadasan Narpani Mandram. S. P. Jayapragasam, chairman, welcomed the gathering.

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