Former United Nations Under-Secretary General Shashi Tharoor officially took charge as the Minister of State for Human Resource Development on Friday and said he was delighted to be able to work towards “shaping the future” of the country.

Talking about the tremendous opportunity of educating and training the huge population of youth in the country, he added, “If we don’t get it right, the consequences will be grave.”

Tharoor said there was a need to focus on three aspects — education that is relevant to the needs of the country, free access to education for all and uncompromising quality.

He added that the Government is gravely concerned not only about training the youth and readying them to be job-ready but also about being able to absorb them.

He said the Naxalite and Maoist movements in the country are a clear indication of what the frustration of the youth can lead to if the country is unable to absorb the talent.

Tharoor, a Member of Parliament from Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, added that he would look at setting up more Central schools in the State to ensure equitable access to good education along the coastal belt.

He said many fisherfolk are unable to access quality education, not just in Kerala but right along the coast line, and he would like to change this, especially given the education-consciousness in the State.

He also said that he would like to revive the proposal he had given during his earlier stint at the Centre for setting up an Indian Institute of Technology in Kerala.

Tharoor served as the Minister of State for External Affairs for about a year from May 2009 till April 2010. However, he was forced to resign following a controversy over Kochi IPL franchise and tweets that raised the hackles of many.

aesha.datta@thehindu.co.in

(This article was published on November 2, 2012)
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