Smriti Irani gets cracking on National Education Day

Marking the occasion of National Education Day on the 125th birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the Ministry of Human Resources and Development launched new initiatives which will benefit the education system of the country.

The initiatives include Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan, Know Your College, SAKSHAM, PRAGATI and SAMAVAY. Paying tributes to the first education Minister of Independent India – Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the Minister of Human Resources and Development Smriti Irani spoke extensively about these programmes which will change the future course of the Indian education system.

The Minister said that Maulana Azad’s contribution towards nation building and in the field of education is immense. Emphasising the importance of teacher in education, Irani said that they are fulcrum of entire education system. Teacher should not merely be concerned with INCOME but also the OUTCOME to help improve the quality of education. She said that the Mission of Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan is to enable higher educational institutions to work with the people of rural India in identifying development challenges and evolving appropriate solutions for accelerating sustainable growth.

The Mission of Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan is to enable higher educational institutions to work with the people of rural India in identifying development challenges and evolving appropriate solutions for accelerating sustainable growth.

Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan has been launched in collaboration with the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT) and the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) across the country.

Although the programme is a brain child of the Ministry of Human Resources and Development but will be coordinated and steered by IIT Delhi. Indian Express quoted IIT Delhi Director R K Shevgaonkar, the programme will involve engaging with communities around each institute and for their upliftment. “Each IIT will identify 10 villages in its neighbourhood and work out technologies to solve the most pressing issues of the region,” Shevgaonkar said.

The report further says that Unnat Bharat Abhiyaan will prepare a roadmap for holistic rural development. Along with the HRD Ministry and the institutes, some other Ministries, including Rural Development and NGOs working in villages are also likely to be involved in the programme. Some of the issues that these elite institutes are looking at are supply of potable water, sanitation, energy and low-cost housing. The idea behind this programme is to provide definitive research that can be aligned with national development.

The HRD Minister also launched two scholarships – SAKSHAM and PRAGATI.  The scheme SAKSHAM is a college scholarship for specially-abled, needy and meritorious, children for pursuing the technical education. PRAGATI is a  scholarship scheme for girls pursuing technical education at college level.

The portal, Know Your Colleg’ (KYC) was launched by President Pranab Mukherjee which allows a student to view details of courses, laboratories, faculty, library, availability of hostels, status of ombudsman and anti-ragging facilities available in the college. Under this programme, students across the country will be able to make informed choices on the colleges they want to choose for their higher education through a one stop portal with details of every college on it.

Skill Credit Framework document which is Skill Assessment Matrix for Vocational Advancement of Youth (SAMVAY) will make it easier for students and working professionals to switch between education and jobs and will help individuals who leave formal education for a job to resume studies, the Minister informed.

Smriti Irani said the scheme is based on Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of creating a framework to help those students who left the education system because of various reasons to get back into the system.

“The University Grants Commission (UGC) in its meeting took a decision on how various Central Universities can practice choice-based credit transfer, and I hope all our universities will implement this system in the next academic year so that all our students can seamlessly study from one university to another,” she said at the launch.

Meanwhile, President Pranab Mukherjee said that it is education that can lead to the trinity of progress, which are greater political participation, social emancipation and upward economic mobility. He further said that we have traversed a long distance from just one out of four children in school in the early 1950s to a school accessible to every child today and almost universal enrollment with gender parity. In recent times, our expenditure on education has risen – from 2.9 per cent of GDP in 2008-2009 to 3.3 per cent in 2013-2014. The President was speaking at the celebration to mark the birth anniversary of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad.

He also said that there is need to propagate technology use in the dispensation of education. A fast digitalising world holds scope to usher in sweeping changes in pedagogy and teaching-learning structures. Our efforts in harnessing new technology are at a nascent stage. We cannot afford to lose time. We have to leverage our advanced technological institutions and leadership position in IT. Alongside, we have to remove the wedge between digital haves and have-nots. He also spoke about  the exemplary contributions of Maulana Azad in nation building, institution-building and particularly his indelible imprints in the field of education.

The National Education Day was attended by the Union Minister of Minority Affairs Dr Najma Heptullah, Ministers of State for Human Resource Development, Upendra Kushwaha and Ram Shankar Katheria.

Courtesy Niti Central



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