India will need at least 800 more universities and another 35,000 colleges in the next ten years to increase the percentage of students going for higher education from the present 12.4 per cent in the country, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal said in New Delhi on Wednesday.
"India has about 480 university and about 22,000 colleges. If we were to increase that figure of 12 per cent to 30 per cent, we will need another 800 to a thousand universities in the next ten years. We will need another 35,000 colleges in the next ten years...We are still below 40 per cent which I think is critical," he said.
Sibal was speaking at the first contact group meeting of Parliamentarians for Education of the UNESCO South Asia Cluster, in which delegates from Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka and other south Asian countries participated.
Highlighting the importance of human resource development, Sibal said, "When the global economy is doing well and the stock market is in the up swing, the developed nations share their prosperity with us." But it is not the case when global economy is not doing well and the stock market is on decline, he said.
"And I think that if we in this part of the world recognise the facts, we will realise how important education is for a developing economy," he said.
Sibal said the energy of a nation ultimately depends on its youth. "The energy of a nation does not depend on parliamentarians who are over 60 years, he said.
He said that in the 21st century, acquisition of physical or tangible assets will not be the wealth of any country but it will be the acquisition of intangible assets which are created not in the stock market but in the university system of nations.