"Our country cannot make progress without providing education to its youths, particularly at the university level and for this political parties, civil society and the media need to rise beyond ''politics'' for formulation of the national higher education policy," Sibal said.
The Human Resources Development minister was here to lay the foundation stone of the campus of the IIT, Patna at Bihta, about 30 km from here.
There was a serious need to promote higher education in the country given the fact that the Gross Enrollment Ratio (GER) in the universities in the country stood at only 14 per cent as against a minimum of 50 per cent GER in the developed countries, Sibal said.
It was only by ensuring improvement in the GER in the universities that a country can produce intellectual property and generate the real wealth, he observed.
The country needs 40,000 to 45,000 colleges in 2020 as against 26,000 colleges at present and 1000 universities by 2020 against 700 universities at present if it wants to treble the GER from the present figure of 15 million to 45 million by that period, he said.
He said it was not possible on the part of the Centre to fund the required infrastructure for higher education given the resources at its disposal, Sibal also advocated public-private partnership in this sector.
He expressed concern at the shortage of teaching staff in the universities and colleges and said the varsities should run post-graduate and doctoral courses to produce teachers.
Sibal was also concerned with lack of quality education in certain universities and colleges in the country and said in order to address the issue, the HRD ministry has created a National Knowledge Network (NKN) under which the students of a particular university can attend classes in another university or college on the internet.