New Delhi: Keen on enhancing the quality of education in the country, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday announced the government’s decision to appoint a commission to make recommendations in this regard and talked about moves to universalize secondary education.
Addressing the nation from the ramparts of the majestic Red Fort on the 65th Independence Day, Singh said vocational education and skill development have acquired new importance and considering the “major changes”, the government has decided to appoint the commission.
“In view of these major changes, it is necessary that we consider all aspects of education in a comprehensive manner. Therefore, we have decided to appoint an education commission to make recommendations for improvements at all levels of education,” he said.
Expressing satisfaction over achievements in the education sector, Singh said government was considering universalisation of secondary education as it did in case of elementary education through the Right to Education Act.
As per RTE, education is free and compulsory upto eighth standard and universalisation of secondary education will make it free and compulsory upto Class X.
“Today every citizen has a right to elementary education. We are now considering universalisation of secondary education.
“We are satisfied with our achievements in the last seven years in the areas of education and health. Whether it is elementary education, secondary education or higher education we have taken concrete steps for improvements at all levels,” he said.
Noting that government had emphasized on education in the 11th Five Year Plan, Singh said similar priority will be given to the health sector in the 12th Five Year Plan.
“I have often referred to the 11th Five Year Plan as an education plan. We will lay the same emphasis on health in the 12th plan as we laid on education in the 11th plan,” he said.
Singh said he will propose to the National Development Council that the 12th plan should be specially focused on health.
“I also promise that funds will not be a constraint in the important areas of education and health,” he said.
Holding that health insurance for workers in the unorganized sector was a priority, he said government will endeavour to cover as many workers as possible under the Rashtriya Swasthya Bima Yojana which was introduced in 2008.
“In the last year we have covered those getting employment under Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Act and also domestic workers, street vendors and beedi workers under this scheme,” he said.
He said about 2.5 crore workers have already been covered under the scheme. “Our government will endeavour to cover as many unorganized sector workers as possible under this scheme.”