Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu stresses on 'complete overhaul' of country's education system
Vice President M Venkaiah Naidu Monday said the country's education system needed a "complete overhaul" as it was producing students with degrees instead of individuals with critical minds and employable skills. Emphasising on restoring India as the prime destination of quality higher education, Naidu said the number of educational institutions must increase to cater to the growing demand of students who want to pursue higher education.
Naidu also asked private universities to earmark certain percentage of seats for students belonging to the poor section as quality private sector education has become out of bounds for marginalised sections. "Majority of our colleges have become mere breeding centres for producing students with degree certificates rather than individuals with critical analytical skills and innovative thinking," Naidu said while addressing the convocation of Lovely Professional University here.
"Most of the times, students passing out of colleges do not possess employable skills. It is a matter of concern that we are turning out lakhs of students each year from the portals of our colleges with emphasis only on theoretical knowledge. We are merely adding numbers and not individuals with critical minds, ," he added. There is a need to completely overhaul our education system. We cannot allow the status quo to continue. We need to change the system and the change has to be for good, he said further.
The Vice-President said the time had come for universities to forge organic links with industries and impart skills to the students in accordance with the requirements of the industry. Although, "some universities are acting in this direction, it is not enough and there is a need for a paradigm shift in teaching and learning methodologies of our universities to enable the students face global competition effectively and with confidence," he said.
Naidu emphasised that the Indian education system faces many challenges and that there was a need to increase the number of institutions and universities to meet the growing demand of students seeking higher education. "But simply an increase in numbers without ensuring quality would be detrimental to national interests. We need to restore India's ancient glory as a prime destination of quality higher education. Private sector will also have to play a vital role in meeting the demands of higher education. The private sector must find ways to cross subsidise the education for the poor and the needy. Unfortunately, quality private sector education has become out of bounds for the poor and marginalised sections," he said.
"Why should not private universities earmark certain percentage of seats for the students belonging to poorer sections and subsidise their education? Our challenge is to ensure the spread of knowledge to every section and every corner of our country", he added. Naidu also said the regulatory mechanism should facilitate educational institutions to improve quality and ensure minimum standards for excellence in higher education. To take Indian education to the next level, the regulatory bodies need to be open to new ideas and systems, he said.