Talent, opportunities imbalanced, need to build world-class institutions: PC

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Expressing concern at the quality of teaching institutes in the country, Union Finance Minister P Chidambaram on Sunday said "there is a need to build world-class institutions" as many colleges and universities had become teaching shops with poor infrastructure, unqualified teachers, outdated books and poor pedagogy and methodology.

"There is a need to build world-class institutions. The country has one world-class institute in science, a couple of them in the field of engineering, one in maths and one in international studies. These can be counted on fingers," said Chidambaram, who was here to inaugurate the campus of Indian School of Business. While the first batch of students was admitted here in April this year, the formal inauguration of the campus took place on Sunday.

"Talent is evenly distributed throughout society. What is missing is opportunity. Talent and opportunities are hopelessly imbalanced," he added.

Asserting that teachers must be well paid, students' accommodation needed to be decent and food of certain quality, the home minister said, "At present, 24 lakh students have taken education loan, and Rs 52,000 crore is the pending amount. High quality education will cost money. But money spent on developing human resources is money well spent."

He said there would be temptation among students to migrate after completing education. "Unlike others, I would urge you to go and seize the opportunity. But remember there is no place that can challenge you like India. The greatest challenge is to build India," he said.

Chidambaram said there was no other country where there was a need to add a hundred thousand mega watt power every year for 10 years, or build thousands of kilometres of road every year or where sanitation facilities had to be provided to such a large population.

He lamented that there was not enough interchange between academia and government. Hardly anyone from the private sector was coming forward to build, among other things, railways and power. He said the government in the coming years would draw upon outsiders to build. Opportunities would be created for scholars and businessmen to work with the government.

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