"Many of our schools still lack drinking water facilities, toilets and other necessary infrastructure," Manmohan Singh said in his address to the nation from the ramparts of the Red Fort on Independence Day. "There is a need to improve the quality of education.
To achieve this, it is necessary to lay more emphasis on training of teachers," he added. Lauding the efforts made by the government, the prime minister said: "We have enacted the Right to Education Act to provide every child in the country the opportunity for education."
"Almost all our children are today being imparted education in primary schools. The number of young men and women going to college has more than doubled in the last 9 years," he said.
The prime minister said new schemes for scholarships have been implemented on a large scale to enable poor children and those belonging to the weaker sections access opportunities for education.
"Today, the central government provides scholarships to more than two crore children," he said. In the higher education sector, the prime minister said: "Many new institutions have been opened in the area of higher education.
For example, 8 new IITs (Indian Institutes of Technology), 7 new IIMs (Indian Institute of Management), 16 new central universities and 10 new NITs (National Institutes of Technology)."
He said new institutions have also been opened to boost scientific research.
"Steps have been taken to attract students to the study of science and encourage Indian scientists working abroad to return to India," he added.