Sunday, 04 January 2009
New Delhi :
Shri L.K. Advani, Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha and prime ministerial candidate of the National Democratic Alliance, today presented an ambitious Five-Point Promise for promotion of primary and secondary education in India, if the NDA was elected to office in the next parliamentary elections. He was speaking at a conference of the Gujarat State Primary Teacher’s Federation in Ahmedabad today.
He recounted that he himself had worked as a teacher at a school in Karachi, where he spent the first twenty years of his life. “I taught English, history, mathematics and science to students of the fifth and sixth standards. Since I was quite young, many of my students were nearly my age. I am very proud of the short period in Karachi when I worked as a teacher.”
Shri Advani lamented the alarming mismatch between India’s need and performance in the area of education. “I have repeatedly said that we have to make the 21st Century India’s Century. Our country has shown a glimpse of its potential to fulfill this dream through the achievements of a small section of our population that has had the privilege of getting good education. But imagine what India can achieve when all our children and youth receive high-quality education.”
Affirming his commitment to the goal of QUALITY EDUCATION FOR EVERY YOUNG INDIAN, Shri Advani presented the following Five-Point Assurance.
1: A future NDA Government shall more than double the Central budget for education and healthcare.
2: In addition to accelerating universalisation of primary education, our new motto will be: Universal Secondary Education.
3: In order to achieve the goal of 100% school enrolment, and also to improve the current teacher-student ratio, the Central Government would assist the States to recruit at least ten lakh more teachers.
4: We shall ensure that not a single school in India is without basic minimum infrastructure, including the infrastructure for IT-enabled education, which has revolutionary potential to enrich the quality and enhance the impact of education. Public-Private Partnerships will be promoted massively to achieve this end.
5: Teacher training, teacher welfare and social security for teachers will receive never-seen-before commitment. All-out efforts would be made to attract the best talent for teaching profession. In particular, we shall launch a Shikshak Aawas Yojana to ensure that every teacher in India has his or her own house.
Shri Advani read out a highly moving poem by Chile’s Nobel laureate poetess Gabriela Mistral (1889-1957), which underscores the imperative need to take care of our children.
His Name is Today
We are guilty of many errors and many faults,
But our worst crime is abandoning the children,
Neglecting the fountain of life.
Many of the things we need can wait.
The child cannot.
Right now is the time his bones are being formed,
His blood is being made,
And his senses are being developed.
To him we cannot answer 'Tomorrow'.
His name is 'Today'.
Shri Advani said, “The human sentiments and thoughts in this poem should guide all our efforts - the efforts of teachers, teachers’ organizations, parents, voluntary organizations, and governments - for improving the condition of our children, who are our greatest asset.