Google+ Hangout: Shashi Tharoor promises transparency in education

By : |May 10, 2013 0

In a Google+ hangout, internet-savvy social activist-turned-politician Shashi Tharoor, who holds the HRD portfolio, answered live questions from across geographies on higher education and shared government’s perspective.

While answering a question by Bangalore-based school teacher Chanda Bhide, he said that creation of new schools is imperative and expansion is one of the major focus areas of education policymakers. Tharoor also said the ministry intends to set up a research and innovation university.

With regard to a question by Shantanu Gupta of Bangalore on the Kothari Commission report and Supreme Court decisions way back in 2000 and 2005, Tharoor said profitability in education is not permitted. “We are finding many private institutions charging heavy fees and engaging in unfair practises,” he added.

“We aim to make the education sector transparent by putting information on the Web. The more transparent the process is, there would be less corruption,” the minister said. Both UGC and AICTE, Tharoor believes, are taking similar initiatives.

Assuring Nipun Kaushik of improved infrastructure to help poorer schools, he said: “The idea would be to ensure parity and bridge the rural-urban divide. While answering Delhi-based entrepreneur Robert Mann, Tharoor said that they are keen to facilitate collaboration between various universities.

“We have seen improvement in higher education uptake while knowledge economy is vital to help India grow at 8/9 per cent,” the minister told the Nottingham University student Saurabh Tripathi.

“As a part of RTE, we are taking many initiatives for girls to take advantage of education system in India.” He said that only 6 per cent students take loans for higher education. “We are encouraging banks to offer loans on reduced interest rates,” the minister added.

Tharoor, while speaking on the Delhi University’s four-year programme, informed that the decision was entirely of the university and it was not healthy for a politician to intervene in academia. “The DU has followed certain procedures, including consultation to arrive at that decision, he said.

With the National Knowledge Network, he said that the government wants schools to be connected with ICT. “We are keen on NME-ICT (National Mission on Education through Information Communication Technology) as Communications Minsiry has embarked on ICT roadmap. Tharoor, although raised concern over power unavailability in rural and remote regions.

Tharoor also slammed the Opposition for hindering the national growth by holding delaying Bills in Parliament. “The disruption to House is a betrayal to right of voters and democracy. Why they (BJP) don’t want discussion or debate,” he asked.

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