What the HRD minister must do

Jun 09 2014, 07:23 IST
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SummaryRather than focusing on the creation of new IITs, the HRD minister must focus on providing good primary, secondary and even college education to the hitherto deprived rural masses on war footing

under way, higher education can be provided across disciplines in phases after assessing the relative needs. So, within 100 days, the following things can be done urgently if the HRD minister puts in the same dedicated hard work that she put in before the elections.

l Repair the broken school buildings across the country;

l Create ‘schools on wheels’ and take these mobile schools to remote villages where new school-building will take some time and engage good teachers asap;

l Install computers with the help of ITC e-Choupal and keep videos, e-learning and MOOC courses ready to supplement or fill in for teachers. For all this, Shramdaan Shibirs (community service camps) can be organised on the lines of Vinoba Bhave’s or Baba Amte’s attempts wherein Modi can use all his charisma to appeal to his countrymen and women to come and take a few days to go stay in camps and help repair/maintain schools in villages. Rest assured, thousands of men and women will come forward for this effort. These volunteers will include educated people like doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers, managers, officers, and also clerks, accountants and workers. Organisations and companies may be urged to give their select staff a paid leave to attend these Shramdaan Shibirs. Some may come for socialisation and fun and some for a good cause, but all will get involved in Modi’s development process nationwide and toil together. If successful, the model can be replicated for other sectors such as healthcare. Come 2019, and these volunteers can become Modi’s armoury.

But where will the money come from? Well, Shramdaan Shibirs don’t cost much because the volunteers are obviously not paid, only directed and their stay and food is taken care of. All the existing misdirected and costly subsidies can be removed to provide for the expenses of repairing/maintaining and later constructing new school buildings, and creating mobile schools. Also, tax-free bonds may be issued and people can even donate. A weak government needs the crutches of subsidies and freebies, not a powerful one such as Modi’s. Nor does Modi wish to keep the underprivileged where they are, dependent on government doles, so as to capture their votes. Even the beneficiaries of subsidies have started understanding the game-plan and are now demanding jobs instead of freebies. They have self-respect and need a dignified living. Modi certainly understands it and has the mandate to fearlessly replace subsidies by education facilities.

If the

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