Union HRD Minister Kapil Sibal on Saturday said he was flexible to the idea of giving more autonomy to elite institutes provided they chalk out a roadmap for generating funds from outside.
“They (premier institutions) have to give us a roadmap for generating wealth to create surplus income,” Mr. Sibal said here after inaugurating an academic block at the Punjab University here.
Citing examples of Harvard, Princeton and Oxford Universities, he said, “These institutions don’t rely on the government. Education is a serious issue. We want to initiate dialogue between academia and the government for which we will have to do some ground work first”.
Expressing concern over the Gross Enrolment Ratio (number of students going to colleges from high schools), which stood at just 12.4 per 100 in India, Mr. Sibal said, “Education is not about autonomy alone, but taking the country forward.”
“The global average is 23-27. The GER for US is 50-70, in the sub-Saharan African countries it is 6.8,” he said.
Observing that 22 crore children in India go to schools, the Union minister said, “We need to send more and more kids to schools.
“In India, 547 million Indians are below 35 years of age. Now, imagine if a large percentage of them don’t go to schools, they can become internal threat to the stability of the country’s democracy,” he said.
Mr. Sibal also pitched for expansion in education system and stressed on the need to have more neighbourhood schools and open schools under Public-Private Partnership.
“Wealth can be created by investment in intellectual assets...we need inclusion of expansion, equity and intelligence. By 2020, we will become a foremost country in education and our GER then should be between 30-35,” he said.
Later, in a brief interaction with reporters, he said the Centre had increased the budget for education, which was 19 per cent in the 11th Plan.