Friday, September 29, 2006
[ 30 Sep, 2006 0109hrs ISTTIMES NEWS NETWORK ]
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BANGALORE: C N R Rao, scientific adviser to the Prime Minister, has criticised the Planning Commission's approach paper for the 11th Five-Year Plan, dubbing it as 'weak' and 'confusing'.
In a strongly-worded letter to deputy chairman of Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Rao said, "I find that the document as a whole is rather weak and not sufficiently focussed. I feel that few important aspects need to be highlighted... some sentences are confusing."
He took exception to the commission's view that while some institutions of higher education compare well with the best in the world, the average standard is much lower.
Rao said, "There are no institutions in India, as far as I know, which are comparable to the best of the institutions in the advanced countries."
He also highlighted stark disparities in regard to educational and R&D institutions. "Over 60% are located in just six to eight states.
The planning process needs to address these institutional disparities for their influence is so great on the distribution of employment opportunities in the country," the note states. "
It is timely and important that India invests imaginatively and largely in higher education, with research of quality. The numerical challenges are daunting. Annually, we produce around 5,000 Ph.Ds in science and about 800 Ph.Ds in engineering.
"If India has to lay claim to being a knowledge-based economic power, the number of Ph.Ds of quality by world standards should be five times the number that we are currently producing," it states.
Thursday, September 28, 2006
The action-packed evening in Mohali started with the PM laying the foundation stone of IISER soon after his arrival around 6 pm.
Addressing the gathering, Dr Singh said: “I am delighted to lay the foundation stone of a new temple of learning in Punjab. The Department of Atomic Energy is setting up a similar facility at Bhubaneswar. It is now the turn of Punjab to claim its rightful place in the evolving knowledge economy of India and to become a first ranking state in science education.”
Earlier, Sudeep Banerjee, Secretary, Higher Education, HRD Ministry, welcomed the PM and briefed the audience about IISER. “It will be the third one after Kolkata and Pune, which have already started functioning this year and are attracting good response both in terms of faculty and students,” he said.
MP Pawan Kumar Bansal used the opportunity to demand an Indian Institute of Management for the tricity. Responding at once, Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh not only promised an IIM in SAS Nagar, but also said it would be done shortly.
Thanking Arjun Singh for granting another premier institute to SAS Nagar, CM Capt Amarinder Singh underlined the need to improve the education system in the country.
“Much needs to be done at the school level. The education at school level should be world standard. Our government has brought computer literacy to the level of Class X and above,” he said.
On the occasion, representatives of Public Health Foundation of India (PHFI) and Punjab government signed an MoU for the first of the five NIPHs to be set up in SAS Nagar. The institute would train 1,000 healthcare professionals annually.
Punjab Governor Gen S.F. Rodrigues (retd), Union Minister Ashwani Kumar and Deputy Chief Minister Rajinder Kaur Bhattal were also present on the occasion.