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Reforming Education

June 28, 2009

Around a year back, in the sweltering heat of Chennai, I wrote a piece at this very same place, about the problems and possible solutions for Indian Education in this article.

Strangely, a year has passed and with it many changes have come. So rapid had been these changes that in a way, they were quite unceremonious. A new government, 100 days agenda, a new HRD and increasingly louder calls for education reforms and finally the much touted reforms. Still we have a long way to go, but I am quite satisfied that a policy initiative has been taken in an ardent and honest way.

How do you propose to do that? Will the Right to Education Bill come through in the Budget session?
That’s a priority. It’ll come through, hopefully, and many other things are going to happen, and I’ll make an announcement very soon of my 100-day agenda and the agenda for five years. But at the heart of it would be to open up the entire education sector to greater investment and to allow children to go to the school that they want to, without any concern about where the money is going to come from, because we’ll have to put in place a loan scheme, both in higher education as well as public education. If somebody wants to go to a private school, he should be entitled to go to a private school as long as he gets a loan.
How do you make the education delivery mechanism efficient and accountable?
Well, we are actually doing it. We have, in fact, over the last five years, employed some nine lakh teachers (and) lots of schools are being built. You know our problem is (that) this is not something that can be done overnight. We have to have a long-term solution. There are different issues at different levels, there is the primary school and the secondary school issue, there is the higher education issue, there is the teacher-training issue, there is the research issue, there is an issue of skilled development, there is an issue of educational reforms across the board. So, first we need to have a national road map.

The entire interview of HRD Minister Kapil Sibal is here

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