President Pranab Mukherjee on Monday stressed on the need to make critical reforms in the country's educational system and asserted that private sector can play major role in it."Right now, we have 757 Universities, 38,600 courses. Only few of them, some IITS and Bangalore's Indian Institute of Science, find place in the top 200 Universities and institutions of the world...Private sector can major role (in improving of education sector) as they have done in the health-care system of this country," Mukherjee said while addressing an award ceremony here.The private sector should be encouraged to play a larger role in the educational system as some of the top universities of the world have been built on the initiative of the private sector, he added. He pointed out that Indian industries did not invest in the education sector despite major economic development in the country.Mukherjee also said that two-third of Indians will be in the working age bracket by 2025 -- the demographic dividend can prove to be a boon for the country's future economic prospects. He, however warned of terrible social consequences if these youth are not employed by giving them proper skill and training.
He asked for creation of conducive atmosphere for cross fertilization of ideas, exchange of views and inviting international students and faculty members for improvement of the education sector. Mukherjee felicitated renowned scientist Jayant Narlikar, social reformer Prakash Amte and Uday Kotak of Kotak Mahindra Bank among others for exhibiting exceptional leadership through pursuit of excellence at the event organised by the Indian Institute of Management - Lucknow and JK Organisation. Mukherjee said the greatest challenge the policy makers and national leaders are facing is to ensure that the fruits of economic development are equitably distributed, which can result into a reduction in income disparities."Growth has to be truly inclusive for it to be meaningful.We must keep in mind that even after seven decades of planned economic growth, disparities still abound across regions, states and social groups. These only serve to remind us that our policies, developmental paradigms and delivery mechanisms need to be made even more broad-based and effective," he said.