Prez moots 'brain gain' policy to counter 'brain drain'

 In a bid to develop India as an international knowledge hub, President Pratibha Patil has asked the UPA government to develop a “brain gain” policy to attract talent from all over the world.
Maintaining the need to reverse “brain drain”, Patil in her address to the Joint session of Parliament said that the proposed 14 world class universities should be developed as “Innovation Universities” where scholars from across the world would congregate.
Highlighting education as a priority sector for her government, Patil asserted on Thursday that quality should be given equal weightage along with expansion in the number of institutions. She also supported the proposal for setting up of a National Council for Higher Education as recommended by the Yashpal Committee and the National Knowledge Commission to bring in reforms in regulatory institutions like the UGC.
“Besides making massive investment in education, government will focus on the national skill development initiative that has commenced operation with the very ambitious goal of creating 500 million skilled people by 2022,” Patil said.
She maintained that Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan has been able to provide children access to elementary schools and their retention also has increased on account of the universal mid-day meal programme.
 “Now the focus should be on making quality education a right through the enactment of the Right to Free and Compulsory Education Bill being considered by Parliament,” she added. “The Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyan will universalise access to secondary education. The massive expansion in higher education through new institutions (under the Eleventh Plan ) will enable the country to meet the challenges of education in full measure,” she said.
Appreciating the introduction of a wide range of scholarships and educational loans for the needy students, the President said such efforts would be reviewed and further strengthened. “The government’s strategy for higher education will be formulated around a three-fold objective of expansion, inclusion and excellence,” she said adding that the suggestions given by the National Knowledge Commission would guide the formulation and implementation of the strategy.
Referring to girls’ education,  Patil rued while male literacy went up to over 75 percent in the last census and is expected to be higher now, female literacy was only 54 percent in 2001.  “My Government will recast the National Literacy Mission as a National Mission for Female Literacy to make every woman literate in the next five years. Increased female literacy is expected to become a force multiplier for all our social development programmes,” she said.

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