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Nehrus approach to primary education lamentable

New Delhi: Noble laureate Amartya Sen on Monday regretted a lackadaisical approach to primary education since Independence, and pitched for enhanced government focus on the sector for robust economic growth.

Praising Jawaharlal Nehru for his pioneering role for the growth of technical education in the country, Sen said the late prime minister`s attitude for primary education was, however, "lamentable".

He said though "Nehru had the understanding of primary education and was committed to it, but in terms of channelising resources, priorities or planning, there was a big failure," he told reporters.

"His attitude to primary education was deeply lamentable in my view but he did understood one thing, mainly the importance of technical education," Sen said.

The focus on the sector was less than Japan and Korea in those days, he said, adding there was a need to broad base the education and health care sectors.

Sen said though India has many achievements in the success of a small group of privileged people who are well trained in higher education and specialised expertise, "yet our educational system remains deeply unjust".

Though he refused to answer on the Lokpal issue, the noble laureate, however, said "there was now greater commitment on the part of the society today to have it eradicated".

He also dismissed the notion that there has been a dramatic increase in corruption related issues at present saying the "extend of corruption has remained unchanged".

Sen was conferred a doctorate in Literature by the National University of Education Planning and Administration (NUEPA) at a function attended by HRD Minister Kapil Sibal.

Sibal said the government was committed to giving access, equipment and quality as regards education to children. 

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