Union Finance Minister P. Chidambaram on Saturday said that the Congress led UPA government at the Centre had accorded highest priority for higher education. Speaking at a function organised by the Meenakshi College for Women in the city, Mr Chidambaram said that until March 2004, Rs 4,550 crore had been given to 3.27 lakh students as educational loan. However, in the last three years after the UPA Government took over, about 9.37 lakh students had been extended loan to the tune of Rs 14,200 crore, he added.

The Union Minister pointed out that the Centre had given direction to all educational institutions to expand their number of seats by 54 per cent in order to provide reservation to the most backward class and others. Stressing the importance of research in education system, Mr Chidambaram exhorted teachers and students to make India a knowledge society. He said all developed nations were knowledge-oriented with new researches, services and innovations taking place. “We are among a few civilisations which had language, alphabets, writing and grammar almost 3,000 years ago. We must strive to become a knowledge society. Only for this purpose, the Centre has set up a Knowledge Commission,” he said.  Source: deccan