‘Centre must set up, expand schools in poor districts’

Garima Singh New Delhi | Updated on January 09, 2018

Mohandas Pai speaks on expectations for the education sector

TV Mohandas Pai, Chairman of Manipal Global Education (Manipal University), talks about how the education sector has performed in 2017, his pre-Budget expectations and the major policy changes that could happen in 2018. Excerpts:

How was the year 2017 in terms of education?

Overall, 2017 has been a very different year. We had expected greater autonomy for universities but that has not happened yet. However, the good thing that has happened is the introduction of the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Bill, 2017. There should be a similar law for the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs). Another commendable thing is allowing 10 public and 10 private universities full autonomy to become world class universities. Since the work in this regard is still in progress, it should be completed sooner.

What are the major policy changes that you wish to see in 2018?

One of the biggest policy changes that is needed is to give full autonomy to the top 100 Indian universities. This simply means that the government should declare all the circulars and regulations issued by the University Grants Commission, All India Council for Technical Education and Ministry of Human Resource Development to be recommendatory and not mandatory. As far as the school sector is concerned, we want expansion of more and more good schools. The problem is that government schools are falling behind the curve. Good private schools have to charge fees, so restrictions cannot be imposed on that.

There is also a need to focus on the increase in the number of foreign students coming to India.

What are your pre-Budget expectations?

First, services required for schools and universities such as hostel services, public transportation, and cafeteria should be rated zero under GST. Second, huge expansion of Kendriya Vidyalayas and the other schools run by the Central government in 200 poor districts. The only way poor districts can come up is when children get good education. As the gap between the rich and poor districts is expanding, we want the Centre to set up the schools and expand them in all the 200 poorest districts.

Published on December 28, 2017

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