Education in India is seen as one of the ways to upward social mobility. Good education is seen as a stepping stone to a high flying career. Education System in India currently represents a great paradox. On the one hand we have IIMs & IITs that rank among the best institutes in the world and on the other hand there are number of schools in the country that don't even have the basic infrastructure.
On Tuesday, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that the Government will work to remove imbalances and streamline equity related schemes in Higher education.
At the conference held at Rashtrapti Bhavan included vice chancellors of central universities. Manmohan Singh said "We will keep in view concerns for equality. We will work to remove imbalances across states, across regions and across sections of Society."
"We will streamline our equality-related schemes in higher education, target them better and provide them with increased budgetary support", he added.
He infact asserted that he expected central universities to be the quality leading institutions. He said "We envisage a very important role for central universities in setting standards for higher education. We expect them to become role models and contribute to strengthening other institutions of higher learning in their vicinity".
He further said "Some central universities in far-flung areas can also contribute to reducing academic imbalances in our country. The educational landscape of India had been transformed beyond recognition and that this transformation has touched all levels and types of education".
"I believe our government has given education its due. We have expanded access to education as never before. We have increased investment in education as never before. The share of education in the total outlay went up from 6.7% in the 10th Five Year Plan to 19.4% in the 11th Five Year Plan".
"We have endeavored to take care of the concerns for equality, enhancing scholarships and setting up institutions. It is for this emphasis on education that I have often referred to the 11th Plan as an Education Plan", he said.
"The number of central universities has more than doubled after 2004-05, from 17 to 44. Each state now has at least one central university, except Goa where the state government did not want one. Special financial assistance was provided to the existing central institutions to enable them to provide 27 per cent reservation for the other backward classes without affecting the number of general seats," he said.
"These efforts have shown results. The enrollment in higher education grew from 16.6 crore to 25.9 crore during the 11th Five Year Plan. The gross enrollment ratio for higher education went up from 12.3 per cent in 2006-07 to 17.9 per cent in 2011-12. However, this is still much below the world average of 26 per cent," Singh said.
Even after more than 50 years after independence we are far away from the goal of universal literacy. But on a positive note, Indian professionals are considered among the best in the world are in great demand. This signifies the inherent strength of Indian education system. What's your opinion.