Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on Sunday said the draft National Education Policy calls for a"pragmatic" language policy in which the mother tongue is given its due importance, as also the proficiency in other languages, required to advance in a multilingual world.
He also noted that it was time to "re-think, re-imagine and re-invent" the entire education system.
"We in India are now embarking on a major reform process.You would have read about the draft National Education policythat has been released for public debate a few days ago. It is a document that covers a whole range of issues in great detail. It seeks to lay out a path for making quality education accessible to all children and youth," Naidu said.
Pointing out that the draft policy also looks at the need to aim for excellence and equity, he said it strikes a balance between the national needs and ethos and the need to prepare students in India to be among the best in the global context.
"It calls for a pragmatic language policy in which the mother tongue is given its due importance and so also isproficiency in other languages required to advance in a multilingual world," he added.
The Vice President was speaking at the inauguration of the golden jubilee celebrations of Sri Satya Sai Institute of Higher Learning.
Amid the controversy over the recommendation of an HRD Ministry panel to teach Hindi in non-Hindi speaking states, arevised draft education policy was issued recently that didnot mention the language being made compulsory.
Several south Indian states had strongly opposed the three language formula in the draft policy and alleged it wastantamount to thrusting the Hindi language on them.
Naidu pointed out that India today was a young nation with more than 50 per cent of its population aged below 25years and more than 65 per cent below age of 35, which was ahuge untapped demographic dividend, to realize whichinvestment has to be made in education.
"We must ensure our education system is revamped to equip our young children and youth with the knowledge, skills andattitudes required for the 21st century.
The foundations of this structure must be strengthened,"a copy of Naidu's speech shared with the media quoted him assaying. Noting that India's literacy rate was 74.04 per cent andthe youth literacy rate, measured within the age group of 15to 24, was 81.1 per cent, Naidu said it has to ensured that inthe next few years, the country has a population that can readand write, compute, articulate and participate with greaterself-confidence in the developmental processes.
The Vice President said the school system must be morechild friendly, geared towards a holistic development of eachchild's innate faculties and added that the higher educationsystem needs to be re-engineered to bring in greater emphasison excellence in research and teaching.
Naidu pointed out that the draft education policy has anumber of recommendations that will potentially advance theeducation agenda of the country and help India move towards ahigher growth trajectory.
These suggestions of the expert panel have to be studiedby all stakeholders in the country and there must be an activeengagement with key issues raised in the draft policy,he said.
"As our economy becomes more robust and resilient, as we keep reforming each of our governance structures and trying totransform the lives of our citizens, as we gain greaterstature in the comity of nations, the education system, the catalytic development accelerator, should be further activatedand given utmost attention.
"We have to shape the future. The onus of moulding thefuture is upon us collectively and we must not fail. It is time that we re-think, re-imagine and re-invent our entire education system," he added.