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NITI Aayog steps forward to reform STEM education

NITI Aayog while releasing a task force report on ‘Emergence of STEM (Science, Technology, Economics and Mathematics) education in India’ said on Monday that the situation of higher education in India is a grim and needs to be reformed.

V.K Saraswat, a NITI Aayog member said “The country may have large number of graduates, post-graduates and PhDs but their quality is questionable due to the shortcomings of the higher education system.”

“If we neglect higher education, we neglect growth of the nation as a whole because higher education contributes to the nation’s growth. If we have to transform our demography, we have to take a look at higher education in a big way because if you take an overall view of it, the situation is grim and not a happy situation,” he added further.

The official by comparing the Indian situation in terms of education with China said, India has spent 4% of GDP on overall education while China spent 145 billion out of 565 billion.

The report prepared by the Vivekanand International Foundation (VIF) and several professors across the country has highlighted STEM education and made recommendations to reform it.

Highlights of the report

  • It recommended expanding diversity in STEM education on national priority and noting that women and racial minorities are disproportionately under-represented particularly in the STEM-based private sector.
  • GDP on education should be increased to 1.5% from existing 1%
  • Call for a focus on diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM education

Other recommendations on the report include planning national level specialised institutions in areas where the impact is expected to be the highest and for the long term for instance artificial intelligence, cyber security, climate change, event-driven ecosystem and internet of things etc.

Although, the ruling and congress parties each have promised to contribute 6% of GDP on  education sector if the former or later comes in power.

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