Vijayapura (Karnataka) : Stating that the Congress government has planned to increase enrollment in higher education from 27 % to 40 % in the next 10 years, Chief Minister Siddaramaiah has asserted he would seriously contemplate making higher education free for all girls in the State.
“The objective is good. However, before taking a final decision, we have to study the financial implications. If we find the decision feasible, then the government will surely make higher education free for all girls in the State,” he said.
Speaking at a programme to officially name the Karnataka State Women’s University after the 12th century saint-poet, Akka Mahadevi, on the university premises here on Sunday, he said that the government was giving free education to Scheduled Castes, Scheduled Tribes, backward classes and minorities. The government plans to extend this benefit to all girls, irrespective of their caste.
He said that even after seven decades of Independence, enrollment in higher education in India was only 24 % against 90 % in developed countries.
“This gap is needed to be bridged by ensuring that higher education reaches youths. In this regard, for the first time in the country, the Congress government has decided to open 20 residential colleges in the State,” he said.
Stating that only education was not enough to get jobs as many students were lacking skills, he said that his government has decided to establish a Skill Development University in the State, for which necessary steps were being taken.
Mr. Siddaramaiah said that it was possible to develop a healthy society only when education reaches every section of society irrespective of caste, creed and gender. “We could not achieve this target in the past because if we look at history, we find that a major section of society remained deprived of education,” he said.
Describing the occasion (renaming women’s university after Akka Mahadevi) as historic, Mr. Siddaramaiah said that his government has written to the Union government seeking consent to name the Central University in Kalaburagi after B.R. Ambedkar.
“We also want to name Gulbarga University after the 12th century social reformer Basaveshwara. In the coming days, we will think of naming all other universities in the State after social reformers,” he said.
Higher Education Minister Basavaraj Rayareddi, District in-charge Minister M.B. Patil and other Ministers, MLAs, seers, women achievers and academics were present.
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