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Govt mulling counter-guarantee for students seeking loans
May, 31st 2008

The government was considering a proposal to provide counter-guarantee for students seeking bank loans for higher education, Union HRD Minister Arjun Singh said on Saturday.

"We are actively considering the proposal" forwarded by leading industry body Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Singh told reporters at the inaugural function of 4th ASSOCHAM International Educational Fair here.

The proposal envisages the government standing as guarantor for students availing educational loans to ensure that the loan obtaining process becomes easier and the burden does not fall on the family of the student.

It was one of the principle recommendations contained in a 20-point charter of suggestions the body has submitted to the HRD Ministry for reforms in higher education.

Earlier, addressing the function, the Minister however, cautioned against initiating reforms in the education system just because "talk of reforms was fashionable".

"It's not that nothing good has come out of our education system. Look at the recent achievement by our space scientists," he said adding, "we are not foreclosing opportunities for cooperation with outside world or private sector but we should not be dependent on borrowed ideas."

"We cannot leave it to the market forces to control higher education," the Minister said, apparently referring to another suggestion of the body to open up the sector and allow higher education institutes to freely fix fees after keeping 25 per cent seats for the underprivileged at a nominal fee.

"Education cannot be bought and sold over the counter. Higher education will be meaningless if it is not accessible to all," Singh said.

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