Hindustan Times (Jalandhar)

Bud­get al­lo­ca­tion for school ed­u­ca­tion to in­crease by up to 14%

The na­tional as­sess­ment sur­vey, which was al­lo­cated a mea­gre amount of less than ₹1 crore last year, may see a hike along with other pro­grams to mon­i­tor school ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor

- Prashant K Nanda prashant.n@livemint.com

NEWDELHI:The bud­get al­lo­ca­tion for school ed­u­ca­tion is ex­pected to rise by up to 14% in the 2019 fis­cal year, with the fo­cus on ac­cel­er­at­ing schemes al­ready put in place and a spe­cial top-up likely for qual­ity im­prove­ment.

The mid-day meal scheme and right to ed­u­ca­tion are likely to get higher al­lo­ca­tions than they did last year, two gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials said, re­quest­ing anonymity.

In­no­va­tion in schools, map­ping of learn­ing out­comes and school as­sess­ments like the na­tional as­sess­ment sur­vey are ex­pected to find men­tions in the bud­get to be un­veiled on 1 Fe­bru­ary.

“It will be much less than what the min­istry de­manded, but higher than the pre­vi­ous year’s al­lo­ca­tions in the range of 11-14%,” said one of the two of­fi­cials cited above.

In 2017, the school sec­tor had a bud­get al­lo­ca­tion of Rs46,356 crore.

In­dia spends around 4% of gross do­mes­tic prod­uct on ed­u­ca­tion—both school and higher ed­u­ca­tion—de­spite a long-pend­ing de­mand for rais­ing it to 6% of GDP.

Ex­pec­ta­tions from this year’s bud­get have been height­ened be­cause it would be the last full bud­get be­fore the 2019 gen­eral elec­tions.

Given the fi­nan­cial con­straints of the gov­ern­ment, one can­not com­plain about the ex­pected size of the in­crease in al­lo­ca­tion, the sec­ond of­fi­cial said. With the goods and ser­vices tax col­lec­tion slid­ing month-on- month, it would be tough for the gov­ern­ment to spend more, the sec­ond of­fi­cial cited above said.

In De­cem­ber, GST col­lec­tion of the cen­tral and state gov­ern­ments, in­clud­ing taxes on in­ter­state sup­plies and the cess on cer­tain items, added up to Rs80,808 crore, a 14% dip from Au­gust col­lec­tions, Mint re­ported on 26 De­cem­ber. The Sarva Shik­sha Ab­hiyan, (SSA, ed­u­ca­tion for all), hav­ing achieved near 100% en­rol­ment, will fo­cus on teach­in­glearn­ing out­comes. The na­tional as­sess­ment sur­vey, which was al­lo­cated a mea­gre amount of less than Rs1 crore last year, may see a hike along with other pro­grams to mon­i­tor school ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor. The Na­tional Coun­cil for Ed­u­ca­tion Re­search and Train­ing (NCERT) is work­ing to map the learn­ing out­comes of stu­dents from dis­trict level up­ward, and a por­tion of Sarva Shik­sha Ab­hiyan money may be used to im­prove out­comes in dis­tricts that are lag­ging. Nearly 250 mil­lion stu­dents are pur­su­ing ed­u­ca­tion across 1.5 mil­lion schools in In­dia. “By next fi­nan­cial year, the SSA may be spend­ing around 40% of its bud­get on im­prov­ing qual­ity of school learn­ing,” said the sec­ond of­fi­cial cited above.

Sev­eral in­ter­na­tional agen­cies, in­clud­ing the World Bank, have pointed to a chronic de­cline in the qual­ity of school ed­u­ca­tion. A struc­tured plan may be im­ple­mented to im­prove qual­ity, the of­fi­cial added.

Ex­tra al­lo­ca­tions may be in the off­ing for set­ting up Ken­driya Vidyalayas (KVs) and Jawa­har Navo­daya Vidyalayas (JNVs).

“Since such schools are per­form­ing bet­ter than the even lead­ing pri­vate schools, you may see more bud­getary al­lo­ca­tions for them,” said the first of­fi­cial.

An im­pres­sive 3,563 JNV stu­dents cleared the pres­ti­gious joint en­trance exam (JEE-Main) 2017 for get­ting ad­mis­sion to top en­gi­neer­ing col­leges, in­clud­ing the In­dian In­sti­tutes of Tech­nol­ogy.

Launched in 1985-86 with two schools un­der the hu­man re­source devel­op­ment min­istry, the chain has around 590 schools across In­dia.

Union hu­man re­source devel­op­ment min­is­ter Prakash Javadekar told re­porters on 29 De­cem­ber that Prime Min­is­ter Naren­dra Modi’s gov­ern­ment wanted to pro­vide qual­ity ed­u­ca­tion to all and im­prove the school sec­tor although he did not spell out the specifics.

“With higher ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor get­ting a lot of pri­vate in­vest­ment, the gov­ern­ment needs to fo­cus on school sec­tor with more funds. The school ed­u­ca­tion sec­tor needs to map class­room learn­ing for bet­ter out­comes and pol­icy mak­ing,” said D. Narayana Rao, pro-vice chan­cel­lor of SRM Univer­sity in Andhra Pradesh and a for­mer sci­en­tist at the In­dian Space Re­search Or­gan­i­sa­tion.

 ?? PhoTo/hT ?? In 2017, the school sec­tor had a bud­get al­lo­ca­tion of Rs46,356 crore
PhoTo/hT In 2017, the school sec­tor had a bud­get al­lo­ca­tion of Rs46,356 crore

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