What are the Impacts of Budget 2017 on the Education Sector?

In a country like India budget always have a lot to do on the future plans of even the common man. This time people around the education sector were too much concerned about the budget and mainly because of the two factors.

  • After the release of the draft National Education Policy 2016 (NEP), this is the first budget.
  • Another thing is the forecast of over 800 million populations going to be in the working population on 2016.

Anyhow the outlay of the budget for the education sector is about Rs. 79,686 crores. Some of the highlights of the budget 2017 on the education sector are listed below:

1) Focus on covering the shortage of teachers on school                

From the past few years this has been considered as one of the greatest challenge in the school domain. A recent report revealed a shortage of 17% teachers in education sector, particularly the trained ones. The crisis existed with 5 lakh parallel employment of contractual teachers. But the most pathetic thing is that the only 60% of them have formal training and the rest were all from miscellaneous field, lacking proper qualification. According to the instruction from the NEP immediate steps for filling the vacancy, timely updating of the training and evaluation of the teacher quality based on the performance of the students must be done. The importance of the bio-metric attendance tracking has been recommended upon the Economic Survey 2017, which helps the tracking committee to assess the teacher performance.

In the budget the funds regarding special training for teachers have been increased to Rs.925 crore from the previous year of Rs. 830 crore. Further more funds are expected to come from the project Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and also in budget an amount of Rs. 125 Crore is released for promoting the appointment of language teachers.

2) Improving the quality of education

Just like ensuring education, the steps for fulfilling the quality of education is also important. The project Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan was launched with the initiative to upgrade the quality of education to the Universal acceptance level. But a recent report shows great fall in the quality rather than an increase. So according to the instruction from the Finance Minister special emphasis have to be done for evaluating the learning outcomes. At the same time no funds are provided for learning outcomes exclusively. But it is expected to include it on the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan and the fund has been increased to Rs. 23500 crores from the previous year of Rs. 1000 crores. Another impressive release is regarding the rise in scholarship funds from an amount of 80crore to 600 crore.

3) Promoting Digital Education

Today we know everything is impossible without digital learning. According to the instruction from NEP rapid measures are suggested for integrating digital education effectively on schools. It activates both the teaching and learning process together. Under the guidance of the Union government many measures including addition of course are done to activate the induction of digital learning. SWAYAM is one such course with the intention of promoting digital learning. However, in this year budget the fund for e-learning has reduced to 497 crores from the earlier amount of 550 crores.

4) Skill development schemes

Many measures have been taken by the government to encourage the skill training in people. This can likely improve the job availability and thus increasing the employment rate. Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Kendras, is one of the best scheme planning to launch that centers for skill based training across the country. The provision for advanced industry based training and also slot for learning foreign languages are being planned to set under the mission.

Anyhow overall evaluation of the budget on the education sector does not seem to be game changer but shows improvements. The initiative for the skill development campaign can be considered as an incremental step that improves the employment rate of the country. Many measures are being taken for improving the quality of the education but at the same time it does not seem to be impressive for the primary and secondary education phases.

Remember, both center and state have prominent role in building the quality of education. Only one third of the resources are allocated from the center and so the major contribution is expected to happen from the part of the state authorities.