Education must be above political agenda: Kapil Sibal – News item on TOI

With a slew of critical education bills remaining pending for parliament approval, a visibly irked Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal on Wednesday said “political interests” were overshadowing national interest in parliament. 

“All will happen if there is political will… the interest in empowerment of India is overshadowed by the interest of political parties to be in power,” Sibal said while addressing a Confederation of Indian Industry ( CII). 

A number of education bills, including one to regulate foreign universities setting campus, a bill for formation of a overarching National Commission of Higher Education and Research (NCHER) and one to control educational malpractices, are pending before parliament. 

More than 14 draft legislations are pending, most of them after being cleared by a standing committee. 

“It took me one year to make the bill, for two years it is pending in parliament. This is after it has been approved by the standing committee which has members from all political parties… and 80 to 90 per cent of the suggestions of the standing committee have been accepted,” Sibal said. 

“Education and health must be agenda above political agenda,” he said. 

The HRD minister said that in order to cater the demand of higher education, it was necessary to pass the bills which will make way for involving foreign education providers and also keep check on the quality. 

He also stressed on the need to the involve private sector, adding that there was need both to create numbers and ensure quality. 

“Right to Education will increase the number of students demanding college education, how will we meet the demand,” he said. 

The gross enrollment ratio (GER) at university level — indicating number of students going from school to college — is presently 17 percent. The government aims to take it up to 30 percent by 2030.