Education should equip children to face challenges of future: PM

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Pune, Feb 9 (UNI) Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today stressed the need for a modern education system for the 21st century -- ''a system that will prepare every one of our children for the challenges of the future, and not make them prisoners of the past''.

Dr Singh was speaking after inaugurating a Biodiversity Park and Reserve at Mahindra United World College of India at Mulshi near here.

''We need a system that is both compassionate and demanding.

No child should ever feel left out for no fault of her or his. No child should nurse a grievance that his creativity has been suppressed. No child should ever feel compelled to do things that he may not be best equipped to do. We need a humane educational system,'' the Prime Minister said.

He said the UPA Government has already launched an ambitious programme to make elementary education available to every child in the country.

''We have launched a five-year plan, a National Education Plan. Our education system is in urgent need of both investment and reform at every level of the learning pyramid,'' Dr Singh said.

The Prime Minister said the government was committed to improving the educational access for all, and urged the teachers to pay equal attention to excellence and creativity.

Dr Singh recalled how former President K R Narayanan, despite hailing from a poor and underprivileged background, went to the United Kingdom and acquitted himself admirably in his studies. ''He never asked for a level playing field. He, like thousands of us, went to the village school and fought hard to earn scholarships,'' the Prime Minister pointed out.

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