KOLKATA: Congress MP Shashi Tharoor said on Saturday that education is the most important instrument for upholding human rights and fundamental freedoms.
Speaking at the first convocation of St Xavier’s University in Kolkata, he said that education is also needed to resolve disputes through democratic dialogue and effective leadership.
The society takes recourse to the force of education to challenge hate-mongering and divisive agenda, Tharoor, who had served the United Nations before becoming an MP, said.
About the education system in India, Tharoor, who was a former minister of state for human resource development, said “we are suffering from the systemic problem of skill mismatch between qualifications and jobs undertaken”.
“Because of this not knowing what to do after graduation, some politicians will suggest them to make pakodas (fried snacks),” he said in a veiled reference to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s suggestion that those who sell pakodas outside offices count as employed.
He said, “Our present government will not invest in subsidising scholarships for our best students, preferring to waste its money on grandiose statues”, an obvious reference to the 182 metre tall statue of Sardar Vallabhai Patel, known as the Statue of Unity in Gujarat which was inaugurated by PM Modi last year.
“In India we are struggling to provide fair access to motivated students. Last week, the students of Bangalore’s National Law School University who had already paid Rs 1.80 lakh were suddenly told to pay up Rs 50,000 more which for students from economically weaker students were left helpless”, he said.
Tharoor said he was looking forward to the New Education Policy aimed to create a new approach to education in the country.