Many a government and municipal school across the country are deficient in terms of infrastructure and quality of education imparted. The government needs to tackle various issues ranging from upgradation of existing infrastructure and curriculum in line with 21st century teaching-learning techniques to regular training of teachers and monitoring of students’ development in terms of quality. This Budget 2018, the government has proposed several measures, the effective implementation of which can address most of the aforementioned issues to a great extent. Will Education Budget 2018 help India in achieving her target in the education segment?
Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan
Under the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan, 100 percent enrollment of children in both rural and urban areas were witnessed. This project focuses on the universalisation of elementary education. But are only 100% enrollments enough to create a literate India? Emphasis should not be given only on quantity but also quality. To transform the educational landscape of the country, imparting of quality education is the need of the hour. This Budget 2018, Finance Minister has mentioned about the quality factor in education and the focus to be shifted from enrollments to learning outcomes.
Key Highlights of Education Budget 2018
- Allocation of 1 lakh crore rupees over the next four years towards spending for revitalising educational infrastructure across the country
- Increase of education cess from 3 percent to 4 percent
- Proposal for training of 13 lakh teachers
- Holistic imparting of education with emphasis on quality from pre-nursery to class 12
- Gradual move of schools from blackboard to digital board
- A school under Eklavya scheme in every block that has 50% tribal people in any region across the country
- Government funding in PhD fellowship for BTech students from premier institutes
- Integrated B.Ed program for teachers
- Creation of 18 new schools of planning and architecture in the IITs and NITs.
Ekalavya Model Residential School
The Ekalavya Model Residential School (EMRS) program started by the Tribal Ministry, Government of India has been functioning for several years. 163 priority districts having 25% or more Scheduled Tribe (ST) population have been identified by the govt. for the establishment of EMRS. Out of this, EMRSs have been sanctioned for 112 districts across India. While the central govt. provides one time Rs 30 lakh grant for establishing the school, thereafter up to Rs. 30 lakh per school annually, additional cost is borne by state governments.
According to Education Budget 2018, the government has decided that by the year 2022, every block with more than 50% ST population and at least 20,000 tribal persons, will have an Ekalavya Model Residential School. The government has decided to upgrade facilities of Ekalavya schools at par with Navodaya Vidyalayas. Emphasis will be laid in providing training in sports and skill development.
Digital Shift in Education
Digital technology holds sway in every sphere of life today. Education Budget 2018 strives to introduce digital technology in teaching-learning methods to improve quality of education. The Finance Minister proposed for a gradual shift from ‘blackboard’ to ‘digital board’. The government also proposes to use technology to upgrade the skills of teachers through the government’s digital portal ‘DIKSHA’.
Education cess Increase and Public-private Partnership
This Budget 2018, the government has increased the education cess from 3 percent to 4 percent. The increase of 1 percent cess will help the government raise an additional Rs 11,000 crore which will be used to fund government programs on education and health.
To align the educational system of government and municipal schools to the realities of 21st century learning techniques, the government is also looking at Public-private partnership (PPP). To achieve this objective, govt and private schools can work together. Any private or public organization with a revenue of 25 crore plus or earnings of 10 crore can fund govt. schools as part of their CSR activities.
The focus of Education Budget 2018 on learning outcomes is an important step towards improving quality of primary education. When the foundation of a tree is strong, the creation of robust branches, stems, and leaves naturally happens. Likewise, quality primary education will help create a literate India, and thereby creation of a superpower nation. There are lakhs of primary schools across the length and breadth of India. With training of teachers, gradual shift from blackboard to digital board, emphasis on holistic education, thereby holistic development of students, a stronger nation will be in the making. But it will take some time, so as the saying goes, ‘Rome was not built in a day’.
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