Union Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla expressed regrets here today that previous governments had "failed" to give due recognition to Maulana Abul Kalam Azad for his role in transforming education in independent India.
"He (Azad) had the necessary vision and foresight to recognise the need of quality secular education for a newborn democracy like India. Therefore his first focus was to build a strong institutional edifice for a modern educational system for the country," Heptulla said.
"As a result, we saw setting up of University Grants Commission, Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs), institutions like Indian Council of Cultural Relations and several other bodies to promote higher education in the country," she said.
A conference on how education can revitalise communities, will be held at Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) campus here, she said.
"Had he not laid a strong foundation for education in independent India, today the country would not have had more than 700 universities and 35,000 colleges. However, I would like to tell you that it is unfortunate and regrettable that his contribution and thoughts are not remembered -- neither by governments nor the people," she said.
"He never got recognition from previous (successive) governments for what he did," Heptulla said.
"Education is one of our most important nation building activities. A good education not only provides knowledge and information but also equips an individual with skills needed to thrive in a highly competitive world," she said.
The greatest charge against the present system of education is that it has not led to development of a "national mind," she said, adding that except for some institutes, the quality of education in our country is not upto the mark.
"Unfortunately, the quality of research undertaken in our country does not match global standards, forcing many talented youngsters to go abroad in pursuit of research and academics," she said.
"Restructuring our education system is necessary if we are to consistently produce world class professionals in different fields of work," she said.
"Education in India needs to be revitalised and reorganised to make future generations proud of their culture, heritage and history as well as to create confidence in the vitality of India," Heptulla said.
In a related development, Telangana Deputy Chief Minister Mohammed Mahmood Ali announced that five acres of land would be allotted to set up a Maulana Azad National Urdu University (MANUU) branch in Karimnagar district.
"Land will also be allotted in all the nine districts of the state to open MANUU branches," he said.