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Government against privatising education, says Sibal

Thursday March 31, 2011 09:38:30 PM, IANS

Bangalore: The government will not allow education to be privatised as institutions have to serve a societal purpose, but it was not against "private participation" in the education sector, union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal said Thursday.

"I think privatisation is a very dirty word. We do not believe in privatising education. Educational institutions have to serve a societal purpose," Sibal told reporters here.

Clarifying that the government was not against private participation in the education sector, Sibal said private participation was different from privatisation, which serves private goal.

"I do not mean there should be no private participation in education. It is different from privatization. Private participation must serve public goal," Sibal said on the margins of the 36th annual convocation of the state-run Indian Institute of Management-Bangalore (IIM-B) here.

In this context, Sibal referred to the government's efforts to set right the education system to make sure stakeholders served a societal purpose.

"The ownership of educational institutions should vest in stakeholders, which includes government, private sector, faculty, youth, civil society, leaders who have achieved excellence in their fields and the student community. That is how we view education," Sibal said.

To facilitate a greater participation of the private sector in higher education, especially in professional courses, the minister said the government was changing the regulations of the All India Council of Technical Education (AICTE).

"We have made the whole system far more transparent and accountable. We want the institutions to go through a self-disclosure process instead of an inspector raj," Sibal asserted.

Referring to the latest national census, which has shown the population at 1.21 billion, an increase of 181 million people in the last decade, Sibal said the government was looking forward to management institutions such as IIM-B and IIM-A (Ahmedabad) to provide solutions to achieve full literacy in this decade.

"I firmly believe we are at the cusp in the next 10 years to achieve full literacy in the country. There will be lot of pressure on educational institutions, more so as transformation of society is taking place. We will need management solutions to very complex problems," Sibal said in the presence of IIM-B chairman Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries Ltd.

According to the latest census, literacy in the country has gone up to 74 percent from 64.8 percent during the past decade, with female literacy to 65 percent from 53 percent and male literacy to 82 percent from 75 percent.

Noting that education was becoming multi-disciplinary and therefore management institutions could not function as standalone, Sibal said they have to interact with the government and diverse sectors such as health, education, agriculture and small and medium enterprise (SME).

"You need management solutions at every level. I don't think society has recognised the importance of management and in creating those solutions. We cannot move forward unless you manage things in a holistic and progressive way," Sibal pointed out.






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