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'Reforms in higher education vital for economic growth'

Saturday November 12, 2011 05:26:50 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Recommending early passage of bills related to higher education, tech czar Sam Pitroda said Saturday that reforms in the higher education system are vital for India's economic growth.

"Higher education reforms are essential if the nation is to meet the serious challenge of skill shortage that will not allow the economy to grow at 8-10 per cent annually," said Pitroda, an advisor to the prime minister, while addressing the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) Higher Education Summit 2011.

"While many of the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission are in the process of being implemented, we are waiting for the government to act on the recommendations retailing to reform of higher education," he added.

According to Pitroda, the debate on what needs to be done ought to be over, and the time now is to focus on action. "The bills have already been drafted but none of them have been tabled in or passed by parliament."

Referring the government's plan for $5 billion National Knowledge Network (NKN) which is expected to be ready in about nine months, Pitroda said it will enable researchers and students from different backgrounds and diverse geographies to work closely for advancing human development.

It would be a platform for delivering effective distance education where teachers and students can interact in real time, he said, adding it is especially significant in a country like India where access to education is limited by factors such as geography and lack of infrastructure facilities.

In next 12 months, FICCI also proposes to set up 5 national knowledge functional hubs in partnership with industry leaders from capital goods sector and patron institutions all over India.

Institute patrons include Thapar, Manipal, Amrita and UPES Universities while industry patrons include Larsen & Toubro, Bharat Petroleum Corporation Limited, Thermax, Bharat Forge, Chemtrols and Hindustan Dor Oliver.





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