“We don't need central or state control on universities and colleges. Today the challenge is to deregulate education,” Pitroda said, addressing a conclave organised by the Indian Institute of Technology alumni group PanIIT.
“That's what we did to economy in 1991. That is what we need to do to education in 2011,” he stressed. Pitroda also emphasised that there was need to urgently pass the educational reform bills, expressing dissatisfaction over the fact that they have been delayed.
“There is no sense of urgency over passing the education reform bills, many of them have not even been tabled yet,” he said. Many new bills, including the much debated National Commission for Higher Education and Research Bill have been drafted on the recommendations of the National Knowledge Commission and the Yashpal Committee. However, they have not been tabled in parliament yet.
“We have had debates and discussions, but no action. It's time for government to act,” he said. At least nine new bills have been drafted by the human resource development ministry. Of these, the Foreign Education Providers Bill, the Prohibition of Unfair Practices in Technical, Medical Educational Institutions and Universities Bill, the Educational Tribunals Bill and the National Accreditation Regulatory Authority for Higher Educational Institutions Bill, have been introduced in parliament.
These have been sent to parliamentary standing committees, and are likely to be taken up during the winter session. “Education is the only area we have not focused on economy of scope. We have to create an atmosphere where even a plumber can think of going for a Ph.D. in Mathematics,” he said.
Speaking on the occasion, HRD ministry's secretary for higher education Vibha Puri Das stressed on increasing the gross enrollment ratio (GER) to 30 percent by the end of this decade.
The GER, representing the percentage of students enrolled for higher education, is presently at 12.5 percent. “We are giving right to education to students... higher education should be made available to them,” she said.