As I remember, I never missed the Independence Day speech of India’s Prime Minister, whenever I was in India. Nowadays, there is one more advantage. One can store the total speech available from the Prime Minister’s website. So I decided to drop my morning walk yesterday. As it appears after seeing the crowd at Red Fort on TV, the whole India perhaps gets up very early on this day. And that is a unique feature that can integrate the nation.
While listening to the Prime Minster, sometimes my attention got on to the prounciation of the Hindi words from Manmohan Singh that was very typical to the region he comes from. And I kept on thinking if technology might solve the problem one day. However for a person who could bear with Devgowda’s Hindi, Manmohan Singh was really good. I don’t think Pandit Jawaharlal or even Indira Gandhi reading the speech. For some years, I find that being read by the Prime Minister. Perhaps, the Prime Minister must try to make it extempore as the president of US does. The speech overall was a traditional one with lot of promises, but when it came to the projects on expanding the education, it appeared there is going to be explosive growth. The salient features were as follows:
Our Government has decided to invest in setting up good quality schools across the country. We will support 6,000 new high quality schools — one in every block of the country. Each such school will set standards of excellence for other schools in the area.
We will also ensure that adequate numbers of colleges are set up across the country, especially in districts where enrolment levels are low. We will help States set up colleges in 370 such districts.
We will set up thirty new Central Universities. Every state that does not have a central university will now have one.
In order to promote science and professional education, we are setting up five new Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research, eight new Indian Institutes of Technology, seven new Indian Institutes of Management, and twenty new Indian Institutes of Information Technology. At least a fifth of our children go to college as compared to one-tenth now.
We will soon launch a Mission on Vocational Education and Skill Development, through which we will open 1600 new industrial training institutes (ITIs) and polytechnics, 10,000 new vocational schools and 50,000 new Skill Development Centres.
We will ensure that annually, over 100 lakh students get vocational training – which is a four-fold increase from today’s level.
Can there be anything better for the country? It is only the education and good education with built in feature to transform young men into employable persons that can make the country prosperous and competitive.
However, I wish the PM had given the time frame too for each. I remember our Finance minister talking of upgradations of existing Industrial Training Institutes since 2004 budget and CII agreeing to collaborate in doing that. I am sure with a will to do that, it would have happened by now. I don’t think that has happened. Our government remains very slow in implementing the plans.
I wish, it didn’t repeat its performance record for the educational projects.