Taking a dig at the Union government, Tamil Nadu Chief Minister MK Stalin deplored its “use of education to push regressive ideas” and said that moving education from the Constitution’s concurrent list “back to the state list will be the only” way to stop it.
Addressing a conference of vice-chancellors from southern states, Stalin said vice-chancellors should keep in mind that “the people of Tamil Nadu want the universities in Tamil Nadu to function as per the education policy followed in the state”. All universities in the state function by “encouraging facts backed by rational and scientific methods”, the DMK leader said.
“That is why I am proud to state that Tamil Nadu excels in higher education. In the national institutional ranking framework of 2020-21, 19 universities and 33 colleges from Tamil Nadu are in the first 100 ranks. The national average of gross enrolment ratio is 27.1 per cent while Tamil Nadu’s is as high as 51.4 per cent,” the chief minister said, adding there were 1,553 colleges, 52 government and private universities and 1,096 industrial training institutes in the state.
“We have provided 7.5 per cent reservation for government school students in professional and medical courses to help those from humble backgrounds to reach greater heights. Former chief minister Kalaignar (the late M Karunanidhi) abolished entrance exams, which acted as a hindrance to professional courses and helped those from humble backgrounds reach greater heights,” he said.
The DMK chief said that eradicating slavery and empowering women were key motives for the Tamil people whom he described as “descendants of the Dravidian movement”.
“To make women socially and economically independent was the main aim. Tamil Nadu is leading in providing education for women by opening many women’s colleges, giving fee assistance for women in undergraduate, postgraduate and doctoral courses, and offering training programmes for women to attend competitive exams,” he said.
Stalin said his government had allotted Rs 5,369 crore for higher education and taken several steps to bring higher education to rural areas and help rural colleges get the University Grants Commission’s accreditation. “Approval has been given to teach undergraduate engineering courses in Tamil in four colleges, and Rs 20 crore was allotted to translate engineering textbooks into Tamil,” he said, adding that skill-based education and training must be made compulsory.