Let education revolution be our mission: PM

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Tuesday said the Eleventh Five-Year Plan was basically a knowledge investment plan and his government's effort was to create the next big wave of investment in higher education.

“We are one of the youngest nations and, according to observers, India has the potential to create over 500 million trained people by 2022 which is over a fourth of the global workforce.”

Addressing students and faculty of the Indian Institute of Technology here, Dr. Singh said the big opportunity for India would come from an education revolution “that we must undertake as our most important national endeavour.”

The government was trying to universalise elementary education through the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and a major expansion of secondary schooling had already begun.

“In higher education, we are building eight new IITs, seven new IIMs, 16 central universities, 14 world-class universities and five new Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research.”

The Prime Minister stressed the need for facilitating creative public-private partnerships in education. He said many eminent educational institutions all over the world were partnering with industry to set up collaborative 'knowledge partnerships' on campuses.

“The knowledge industry is driven by innovation and that innovation is incubated in institutions of higher learning and research.”

Dr. Singh said his government was putting in place an integrated knowledge network that would have nodes in all major institutions of higher education. “This network would help our institutions of higher learning connect with each other and carry on the relevant inter-disciplinary dialogue.”

Academic resources could then flow from the IITs, the IIMs, national research institutions and universities into each other, enriching every participating institution.

The first phase of the network would become functional before the year-end, and IIT-Guwahati would be part of it.

Dr. Singh expressed his happiness that IIT-Guwahati was mentoring one of the six new IITs, which had started functioning, in Patna.

The government was implementing a National Initiative for Skill Development which would provide youth with vocational and professional education opportunities to realise their individual potential and create a globally competitive India. Ten new National Institutes of Technology, 20 Indian Institutes of Information Technology and a thousand new polytechnics were also being established.

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