Education is Not about Autonomy or Flexibility: Sibal

Chandigarh, Sep 26 (IANS) In the backdrop of the row between the faculty of premier education institutes and the union ministry, Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal said here Saturday that education is neither about autonomy nor about flexibility, it's about taking the country forward.

"Institutions demand more flexibility in their working and more autonomy from us. We are ready to give that but they also need to give us a roadmap explaining how they will generate wealth and create surplus income in the future from the present sources that they are getting from us," said Sibal here Saturday.

"They should assure us that in future they will not rely on the central government but create conditions that will force us to seek their aid and help. Education is neither about autonomy nor about flexibility, it's about taking the country forward," Sibal said.

Recently, faculty of Indian Institutes Management (IIMs) and Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) have been up in arms against the HRD ministry and have rejected its latest proposals on pay scales and autonomy.

Sibal came to Chandigarh Saturday evening to inaugurate a new block of the University Institute of Engineering and Technology (UIET) in the Panjab University campus.

"India is a one trillion economy where per capita income is $1,100. We cannot compare with the US, which is a 14 trillion economy," Sibal said.

He added: "People give examples of institutions like Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge and Princeton. They should understand that these are very rich institutes and do not rely on government at all. Rather their government is relying on them."

Sibal said that vice-chancellors (VC) and professors talk about their past and present but nobody is concerned about the future.

"No VC has ever come to me with an innovative future plan. That is fine, they need funds for today and we will provide them. But at least they should assure us about their future," Sibal said.

He said that much impetus was given to education in the country's 11th plan in which education's share is 19 percent whereas in 10th plan it was only eight percent.

"We have to move our attention towards less explored courses in humanities and in engineering. We should initiate a dialogue between the academicians and the government, which has been missing for the last 60 years," Sibal said.

Talking about deep technical strength of India, he added: "In 2009-10, around 950,000 Indian students took admission in engineering colleges and 65,000 were alone from Bangalore."

"While in the US, only 75,000 took admission in engineering course this year. This proves that there is no dearth of talent. There is an enormous knowledge base," Sibal said.


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