Speaking on the need for social mobility, Shanmugaratnam said experiments have shown that starting as early as possible in a child's life cycle helps.
"Intervention at pre-natal stage are critical, followed up with pre-school opportunities," he said, adding that India has some notable schemes in this regard citing the results of the Integrated Child Development Services and Anganwadis. Things, he added, can be achieved with village-level
interventions - from reaching out to the mother and the child as early as possible and then schools.

"Schools are the biggest crisis in India today and have been for a long time. Schools are the biggest gap between India and East Asia. And it is a crisis that cannot be justified," the Deputy Prime Minister of Singapore said.

Reeling off data, Shanmugaratnam said 43 per cent students drop out before finishing upper primary school. There is a shortage of 7,00,000 primary school teachers, only 53 percent schools have girl's toilets and only 74 per cent have access to daily drinking water.

He went on to say this explains that when India took part in OECD PISA study in 2009, it was ranked 73rd out of 74 countries. "And this is in a country which has exceptional talent with people who go to IITs and IIMs and lead companies all over the world and are first-rated," he added.

"India has the biggest gap, I know and I have spent many years in education... talent at the top and the unfulfilled potential of those in the rest of the society. And these things can be fixed. And it is not by way of ever-increasing budgets," he said.

Latest News from India News Desk