Microsoft Co-founder Bill Gates on Thursday said the Indian education system was his biggest disappointment about the country. “It should be far better,” he said in an interview with The Times of India. “I don’t want to be critical, but I do want to create higher expectations about it.”
Gates said he did not foresee the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation expanding into India’s education sector. “We can’t do everything,” he said. “Most of India’s own philanthropists have picked education as a high priority, and I’m very glad about that.”
On his collaboration with the Indian government to build toilets as part of the Swachh Bharat campaign, Gates said the real challenge was to get people to use the sanitation facilities available. “Part of our Swachh Bharat partnership with the government is to try and make sure that the toilets that are built are not so bad that you’d rather not use them,” the Microsoft co-founder said.
Gates also met Home Affairs Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday. Singh requested him to initiate health awareness programmes in India and concentrate on developing “model villages”, PTI reported.
Their meeting holds significance as the Centre had cancelled the licence of the Public Health Foundation of India – an NGO in which Gates is one of the donors – in April. An unidentified spokesperson for the Gates Foundation was quoted as saying by PTI that the matter was not discussed.