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Manmohan calls for widening access to education

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday emphasised on the need to make education ?more equitable? and to reward excellence.

india Updated: Nov 18, 2006 13:24 IST

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Friday emphasised on the need to make education “more equitable” and to reward excellence.

He was speaking at the Fourth Hindustan Times Leadership Summit in New Delhi, devoted to the theme, ‘India: The Next Global Superpower?’ Highlighting the need to empower women and all weaker sections through education, the Prime Minister said, “We have to widen access to education, make it more equitable and relevant, and ensure that excellence is rewarded”.

He also stressed that the education system must promote rational thinking and a scientific temper. “We cannot afford to be a nation, half of whose citizens are marginalized and outside the pale of a modern economy”. Singh voiced confidence that India can become a superpower in the knowledge industry.

India might not be a superpower in the traditional sense, but it can be a superpower in the world of knowledge, he said. Seeking consensus on various issues, the Prime Minister said there was a need for politics of “constructive engagement” and “forward-looking” political leadership.

“We need a basic political consensus on some of the difficult things that governments must do to create an environment conducive to sustainable development,” he said.

Voicing concern on whether enough was being done to reform institutions, he said “our administration, judiciary, legislature and institutions of local government need to be revitalised and made more accountable and effective.” Earlier, in her speech, Congress president Sonia Gandhi welcomed the Indo-US nuclear deal passed by the Senate but said that the Congress and the UPA will not accept anything outside the July 18 agreement.