Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal said on Saturday that the government aimed to send 30 per cent of the school going population to colleges by 2020. At present, a mere 12.4 per cent of India's 220 million school going population could get higher education.

Inaugurating a two-day India-U.S. Summit on Higher Education organised by the Indo-American Society here, he said that in the U.S. 30 per cent of the school going population reached college.

Mr. Sibal said that to accommodate 60 million students in colleges by 2020, the country would need 800 more universities and 35,000 more colleges.

He also invited the American Universities to establish educational institutes and places of excellence in India, instead of focussing on taking Indian students to the U.S. He said that the current number of students going to the U.S. for higher education was like a drop in the ocean.

“It is a bad economic model which will not work in the long term,” he said.

He suggested that instead, the American universities should invest, where there was human resource. “The output for dollar will be much more here,” he said.

He also invited American students to learn courses in liberal arts and humanities in India. He said that India had the knowledge acquired through experience, which allowed communities to understand and live peacefully with each other.

“The world has this lesson to learn from a civilisation like ours,” he said.

He also lamented the government control in higher education and said that the need of the hour was to give freedom to the academic community. “We should set benchmarks and goals, but let the universities decide the syllabi and the creative modes of teaching.”

The university-level unions must be transformed into constructive forces. “We should keep politics away from higher education,” he said. The delegates included 16 Vice-Chancellors and 30 Deans.

He appealed to the academia to think differently and implement more creative, sustainable and inclusive models of education. “We need to think of different economic models because all wealth of nations is built through investment in human minds.”

He said that the agenda of the government was to focus on the three foundation pillars of education — expansion, inclusion and quality.