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Vice President of India Shri M. Hamid Ansari has said that education is a critical tool for developing a modern economy, a just society and a vibrant polity. It provides skills and competencies for economic well-being and social mobility. Education strengthens democracy by imparting to citizens the tools needed to fully participate in the governance process. It also acts as an integrative force in society, imparting values that foster social cohesion and national identity.
Addressing at the “Golden Jubilee celebrations of the R.V. College of Engineering (RVCE)” at Bangalore, Karnataka today, he said that a well educated population, equipped with the relevant knowledge, attitudes and skills is essential for economic and social development in this century.
He said that we have made progress in the field of higher education since 1947. Today, India has the third largest higher education system in the world. We have around 652 universities and university level institutes that impart higher and technical education. They also provide affiliation to more than 33,000 colleges and institutes. However, our higher education system continues to be afflicted with the three problems of access, equity and quality. Enrollment rates in our higher education institutions have gone up to around 17% but are still well below the world average of 26 per cent. Wide disparities exist in enrollment percentages among the States and between urban and rural areas while disadvantaged sections of society and women have significantly lower enrollments than the national average.
The Vice President opined that curricular and academic reforms are required to improve student choices, with a fine balance between the market oriented professional and liberal higher education. Higher education must be aligned to the country’s economy and also to the needs of the global market. Innovative and relevant curricula should be designed to serve different segments of the job market or provide avenues for self-employment. Emphasis must be given to the expansion of skill-based programmes in order to make our youth employable in the job market.