-The Indian Express
Commenting on the state of education and other human development indices in India, Prof Amartya Sen on Monday likened it to a state of ‘emergency’.
The Nobel laureate pointed out that not only Japan and Korea but also other South Asian countries like Singapore, Hong Kong and Thailand have taken a lead in providing quality education to their people. “While they took a lead... we were left behind and we have paid a huge price for it. While Indians generally do well on high skills related jobs/issues like IT, in the middle skill segment we are very bad. This shows how the fruits of the economy are not widely shared... there is a state of emergency in terms of malnutrition and other aspects of human development. From being the second best in South Asia on the human development index, we are now the second worst and that too thanks to Pakistan. Bangladesh has also overtaken us on most indices,” he said.
Sen was speaking at a deliberation on the Nalanda University moderated by Shekhar Gupta, Editor in Chief, The Indian Express.
Prof Sen, Chancellor of Nalanda International University, along with Prof Sugata Bose of Harvard University, shared his vision for the university.
“Eight hundred years ago the Nalanda university thrived in Bihar and then there was a hiatus... there is a challenge in reviving it and we have the determination to do so. Bihar government has been very speedy...Even though we did not expect it, they have made available to us a temporary building to start our campus... there is a visionary group in Bihar, headed by the Chief Minister, that wants the university to come up well and they are very supportive as is the Government of India,” Sen said.
Bose, who is a member of the Board of Governors of the university, said it has been decided that two schools — School of Ecology and Environmental Studies and School of Historical Studies — will take off first. The two schools will take off in July 2014, said Bose. The university will later this year hold an international design competition to develop the master plan and buildings for the two schools. The varsity will come up at a 467 acre site near the Rajgir hills.