Paying capacity shouldn’t be barrier to higher studies: Sibal

Mumbai, July 31: Sharing his vision of a society where every child should have the opportunity to go to school and be able to pursue higher studies irrespective of paying capacity, Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal Saturday said illiteracy should not be a barrier to progress.

Speaking at the inaugural function of the golden jubilee celebrations of the Indo-American Society, he said: ‘There are 220 million children who go to school, out of which 14 million students reach the college level. Currently there is 12.4 percent enrolment, which we want to increase to 30 percent by 2020.’

‘Basically, if 500 universities are serving 12.4 percent enrolment, in order to reach 30 per cent we need 800 universities. Also, if 25,000 schools are serving this 12.4 percent, we also need another 10,000 schools to reach 30 percent,’ he added.

‘We will encourage the public-private-partnership (PPP) model to a great extent in establishing more schools, colleges and universities,’ Sibal said.

He also emphasised the need for synergy between academics and vocational training. ‘This can work better in a decentralised plan. State governments will have to identify the vocational courses that are more useful in that particular state and then synergise it with the academics,’ he said.

Sibal contended that democracy can flourish in the country only if there is freedom of choice in classrooms.

‘Democracy will flourish only if there is democracy in the classroom. Students need to be given more choices in terms of academics and vocational training and a mix of both,’ he said.