Press Information Bureau
Government of India
Ministry of Human Resource Development
11-November-2010 16:53 IST
National Education Day: Vice President Calls for Focus on issues Highlighted by Mid-Term Plan Appraisal
The Vice-President, Shri M. Hamid Ansari has stated that specific issues highlighted by the Mid Term Appraisal of the Eleventh Plan need to be focused upon. He said, “First, systemic issues such as teacher absenteeism, single teacher schools and multi grade teaching need to be resolved; Second, we need to address equity concerns of the disadvantaged, vulnerable social groups and urban deprived groups with regard to access and retention; and Third, all quality issues impacting on the learning outcomes of children must be addressed as a priority.” He was speaking at the National Education Day function held here today.

While the Vice-President highlighted the achievement of near universal access, and the landmark legislation of the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, he pointed out that problems remain. The impact of the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan in areas listed in Schedule V and VI of the Constitution, among SCs and STs, Muslim concentration areas and slums has not been very significant, he said. While the issues of access has been largely addressed, the huge drop out rate at the elementary level of over 43 per cent is a cause of concern, he underlined.

Speaking on the occasion, Shri Kapil Sibal, Union Minister for Human Resource Development, said that though the country’s education system can boast of outstanding scientists, technologists, doctors, academics, economists, writers and philosophers, we cannot afford to be complacent. He said,” We need a paradigm shift in the way our children are taught. Education should be child-centric instead of being exam-centric as it seeks to mushroom each child’s genius.”

The minister underlined that the educational system should help the child to choose a discipline that builds upon the child’s particular personality traits. It is therefore, necessary to provide the child the possibility of vocational training and experience along with academic learning, he said. He added, “This of-course should happen after the child is familiar with knowledge of basic disciplines essential for holistic education. This will help the child to choose, guided by teachers and the environment at home. This is indeed a necessity in a fundamentally changed world, where the requirements of globalization necessitate learning of the kind that allows the child to be globally competitive.”

Shri Sibal said that the quality of teaching and the quality of teachers are fundamental in the evolution of the modern education system. Pointing out, “Good teachers are costly, yet bad teachers cost much more,” he emphasized on the need for society to invest in quality teachers

Mr. Davidson Hepburn, President, General Conference of UNESCO, Mr. David Willets, Minister of State for Universities and Science, UK, Dr. D. Purandeswari, Minister of State for Human Resource Development,. Smt. Vibha Puri Das, Secretary, Higher Education, also addressed the gathering.