Union HRD Minister Smriti Irani visited the city for the first time yesterday, and said that she would work to deregulate the education sector
Union human resource development minister Smriti Irani, in her first visit to the city, announced that to bring change in the education sector her ministry will soon open up an online interface, which will have space for all stakeholders — including educational institutions, top committees, student bodies and alumni associations — to voice their concerns.
HRD Minister Smriti Irani at Symbiosis Institute in Lavale; she said she would work to make the country an education hub, which foreign students find welcoming. Pic/Mohan Patil
Stressing the point that she wanted to deregulate the education sector, she said, “There will be a platform for everybody. The education will not be restricted to bureaucrats and politicians. I will see how we can take support of student bodies and alumni associations in this process. I view HRD from the prism of opportunities.”
Irani visited the Lavale campus of Symbiosis International University (SIU) on Sunday afternoon and addressed MBA students studying in the university’s various management institutions. Raising concerns over the employability of young graduates, she said, “According to industry estimates, out of three million graduates that pass out every year, very few are employable. My focus will remain on how we can link up young graduates to industry to bridge this gap and make them employable.”
SIU chancellor Dr S B Mujumdar said that for the first time since independence, the country has got her first woman HRD minister. To his complaint that education is still not free and is stuck in licences, she said in her speech that she would work to deregulate the sector.
Meanwhile, for hundreds of students of Symbiosis — at Lavale as well as in Nashik, Noida and Bangalore — who participated in the function through video conferencing, the experience was distressing than enriching. “The HRD minister arrived late and since she had to attend a function headed by President Pranab Mukherjee in half an hour, she spoke hardly for five minutes, scrapping the scheduled question-and-answer session after her speech.
“I am leaving with a sense of guilt. But I will come back. So be ready with your drill,” she said. “This is not done. We have waited for two hours to listen to her. I heard a lot about her oratory skills. Moreover, she was recently caught in a controversy over her academic qualifications. So a Q-and-A would have been exciting. I will definitely wait for her next visit,” said an MBA student on the condition of anonymity.
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