Governance

Budget expectations: quality education needs financial backing

In absence of substantial financial backing, achieving quality education appears to be distant dream

 
By Komal Ganotra
Last Updated: Monday 30 January 2017
The future trajectory of the nation will be governed by our ability to provide education, knowledge, and a progressive worldview to our young citizens (Credit: iStock)
The future trajectory of the nation will be governed by our ability to provide education, knowledge, and a progressive worldview to our young citizens (Credit: iStock) The future trajectory of the nation will be governed by our ability to provide education, knowledge, and a progressive worldview to our young citizens (Credit: iStock)

How has budget allocation been for education schemes?

“The destiny of India is now being shaped in her classrooms,” declared the Education Commission in 1964-66. Never has this statement been more applicable than it is today. India has now taken over China as the largest primary education system in the world[1]. The future trajectory of the nation will, therefore, be governed to a large proportion by our ability to provide education, knowledge, and a progressive worldview to our young citizens.

In last year’s budget, the government stated nine pillars for the transformative agenda inclusive of education, skills and job creation, with the objective of making India knowledge-based and productive. It coined National Education Mission—the umbrella scheme under which flagship education schemes like Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan and Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan, and other teacher training and support schemes have been subsumed. The Mission comes at the last phase of the 12th Five Year Plan, with many challenges and unmet targets (See Table 1). Other obstacles like higher dropout rates for the disadvantaged groups, minorities and girls also need to be confronted by this mission.

Status of targets under 12th five year plan (Table 1)

Targets

Progress till now

Achieve near-universal enrolment in secondary education, with enrolments exceeding 90 per cent

66.6 per cent (2013-14)

Raise the enrolment rates at the higher secondary level to 65 per cent by 2017

52.2 per cent

Reduce dropout rate to less than 25 per cent by 2017;

Dropout rates in Classes I-V: 40.7% &, Classes I-VIII 53.7 % and Classes I-X were 68.6% respectively


A recent report by non-profit Child Rights and You (CRY) and Centre for Budget Governance and Accountability (CBGA) shows that the total budgetary spending on school-education has remained stagnant at 2.7 per cent of GDP in the past four years (2012-13 to 2015-16). Of the 2.68 per cent of GDP in 2015-16, elementary education accounted for 1.55 per cent of GDP and secondary education was allocated 0.9 per cent of GDP with the remaining amount spent more comprehensively on school-education as a whole.

The finance minister in his budget address last year, spoke about universalisation of primary education, emphasising on “quality of education as the next big step forward”. But this translated to an increase of merely 2.27 per cent[2] for Sarva Siksha Abhiyaan (SSA) and 3.78 per cent increase for Rashtiya Madhyamik Shikshan Abhiyan (RMSA). In absence of substantial financial backing, achieving quality education appears to be distant dream.

In order to improve learning outcomes, enrolment rates cannot be the only focus. The quality interventions under SSA include curriculum renewal, provision of free textbooks, a shift to continuous and comprehensive evaluation, increasing teacher availability and training and teacher support, among others. Recent initiative taken by the government like introducing School Education Quality Index (SEQI) is a step forward in this direction.

Despite these efforts, the poor status of learning outcomes calls for additional investment to reverse the trend. The seventh anniversary of Right to Free and Compulsory Education (RTE) Act 2009 is around the corner. Investing in additional resources is crucial in making quality education a reality for every child.

Subscribe to Weekly Newsletter :

India Environment Portal Resources :

Comments are moderated and will be published only after the site moderator’s approval. Please use a genuine email ID and provide your name. Selected comments may also be used in the ‘Letters’ section of the Down To Earth print edition.

  • Yup..Quality learning is essential in rural areas for this quality teaching staff is necessary.bt in India once teachers are appointed they don't do their homework and teach students..So their knowledge quality deteriorates.so govt should take measures to check the quality of teachers first

    Posted by: Taman | 2 years ago | Reply